By Hans Christian Andersen.

, , , , , 


by Mary Howitt



and CO.

, , , , , 


--I take this opportunity

of forwarding

to you,

the proof sheets

of the unpublished Life

of Hans Christian Andersen


from a copy transmitted

to me


that purpose,

by the Author.

It is

as well

to state

that this is the Author’s Edition,

he being participant

in the proceeds

of this work.

, , , , , 

I remain,


Yours truly,


, , , , , 


June 29,


, , , , , 













, , , , , 

Project Gutenberg Editor’s Note:

There are many words

in this file

with missing letters.

These spaces were letters

with diacritic marks which

at the time

of the production

of the digital file were not available

for the character set

of the file.

It is hoped someone

will be interested enough

in this work

to supply the missing letters.




, , , , , 





, , , , , 


, , , , , 


, , , , , 



, , , , , 


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, , , , , 

No literary labor is more delightful

to me

than translating the beautiful thoughts

and fancies

of Hans Christian Andersen.

My heart is

in the work,

and I feel


if my spirit were kindred

to his;


as our Saxon English seems

to me eminently fitted

to give the simple,


and noble sentiments

of the Danish mind.

, , , , , 

This True Story

of his Life

will not be found the least interesting

of his writings;


to me it seems one

of the most so.

It furnishes the key,

as it were,

to all the rest;

and the treasures

which it unlocks

will be found

to be possessed

of additional value

when viewed

through the medium

of this introduction.

It is gratifying

for me

to be able

to state

that the original Author has a personal interest

in this English version

of his “Life,”

as I have arranged

with my publishers

to pay Mr. Andersen a certain sum

on the publication

of this translation,

and the same

on all future editions.

, , , , , 

M. H. 

The Elms,


June 26.

, , , , , 




My life is a lovely story,


and full

of incident.


when I was a boy,

and went forth

into the world poor

and friendless,

a good fairy had met me

and said,

“Choose now thy own course

through life,

and the object


which thou wilt strive,

and then,


to the development

of thy mind,


as reason requires,


will guide

and defend thee

to its attainment,”

my fate

could not,

even then,

have been directed more happily,

more prudently,

or better.

The history

of my life

will say

to the world

what it says

to me

--There is a loving God,

who directs all things

for the best.

, , , , , 

My native land,


is a poetical land,


of popular traditions,

old songs,

and an eventful history,

which has become bound up

with that

of Sweden

and Norway.

The Danish islands are possessed

of beautiful beech woods,

and corn

and clover fields:

they resemble gardens

on a great scale.

Upon one

of these green islands,


stands Odense,

the place

of my birth.

Odense is called after the pagan god Odin,


as tradition states,

lived here:

this place is the capital

of the province,

and lies twenty-two Danish miles

from Copenhagen.

, , , , , 

In the year 1805

there lived here,

in a small mean room,

a young married couple,

who were extremely attached

to each other;

he was a shoemaker,

scarcely twenty-two years old,

a man

of a richly gifted

and truly poetical mind.

His wife,

a few years older

than himself,

was ignorant

of life and

of the world,

but possessed a heart full

of love.

The young man had himself made his shoemaking bench,

and the bedstead


which he began housekeeping;

this bedstead he had made out

of the wooden frame

which had borne only a short time

before the coffin

of the deceased Count Trampe,

as he lay

in state,

and the remnants

of the black cloth

on the wood work kept the fact still

in remembrance.

, , , , , 


of a noble corpse,


by crape

and wax-lights,

here lay,

on the second

of April,


a living

and weeping child,

--that was myself,

Hans Christian Andersen.

During the first day

of my existence my father is said

to have sate

by the bed

and read aloud

in Holberg,

but I cried all the time.

“Wilt thou go

to sleep,

or listen quietly?”

it is reported

that my father asked

in joke;

but I still cried on;

and even

in the church,

when I was taken

to be baptized,

I cried so loudly

that the preacher,

who was a passionate man,


“The young one screams

like a cat!”

which words my mother never forgot.

A poor emigrant,


who stood

as godfather,

consoled her

in the mean time

by saying

that the louder I cried

as a child,

all the more beautifully

should I sing

when I grew older.

, , , , , 

Our little room,

which was

almost filled

with the shoemaker’s bench,

the bed,

and my crib,

was the abode

of my childhood;

the walls,


were covered

with pictures,


over the work-bench was a cupboard containing books

and songs;

the little kitchen was full

of shining plates

and metal pans,


by means

of a ladder it was possible

to go out

on the roof,


in the gutters between

and the neighbor’s house,

there stood a great chest filled

with soil,

my mother’s sole garden,


where she grew her vegetables.

In my story

of the Snow Queen

that garden still blooms.

, , , , , 

I was the only child,

and was extremely spoiled,

but I continually heard

from my mother

how very much happier I was

than she had been,


that I was brought up

like a nobleman’s child.


as a child,

had been driven out

by her parents

to beg,

and once

when she was not able

to do it,

she had sate

for a whole day

under a bridge

and wept.

I have drawn her character

in two different aspects,

in old Dominica,

in the Improvisatore,


in the mother

of Christian,

in Only a Fiddler.

, , , , , 

My father gratified me

in all my wishes.

I possessed his whole heart;

he lived

for me.

On Sundays,

he made me perspective glasses,


and pictures


could be changed;

he read

to me

from Holberg’s plays

and the Arabian Tales;

it was only

in such moments

as these

that I

can remember

to have seen him really cheerful,

for he never felt himself happy

in his life and

as a handicrafts-man.

His parents had been country people

in good circumstances,

but upon whom many misfortunes had fallen;

the cattle had died;

the farm house had been burned down;

and lastly,

the husband had lost his reason.

On this the wife had removed

with him

to Odense,


there put her son,

whose mind was full

of intelligence,


to a shoemaker;


could not be otherwise,

although it was his ardent wish

to be able

to attend the Grammar School,

where he might have learned Latin.

A few well-to-do citizens had

at one time spoken

of this,

of clubbing together a sufficient sum

to pay

for his board

and education,

and thus giving him a start

in life;

but it never went beyond words.

My poor father saw his dearest wish unfulfilled;

and he never lost the remembrance

of it.

I recollect

that once,

as a child,

I saw tears

in his eyes,

and it was

when a youth

from the Grammar School came

to our house

to be measured

for a new pair

of boots,

and showed us his books

and told us

what he learned.

, , , , , 

“That was the path upon

which I ought

to have gone!”

said my father,

kissed me passionately,

and was silent the whole evening.

, , , , , 

He very seldom associated

with his equals.

He went out

into the woods

on Sundays,

when he took me

with him;

he did not talk much

when he was out,


would sit silently,


in deep thought,

whilst I ran about

and strung strawberries

on a straw,

or bound garlands.

Only twice

in the year,

and that

in the month

of May,

when the woods were arrayed

in their earliest green,

did my mother go

with us,


then she wore a cotton gown,

which she put

on only

on these occasions,


when she partook

of the Lord’s Supper,

and which,

as long

as I

can remember,

was her holiday gown.

She always took home

with her

from the wood a great many fresh beech boughs,

which were

then planted

behind the polished stone.


in the year sprigs

of St. John’s wort were stuck

into the chinks

of the beams,

and we considered their growth

as omens whether our lives

would be long

or short.

Green branches

and pictures ornamented our little room,

which my mother always kept neat

and clean;

she took great pride

in always having the bed-linen

and the curtains very white.

, , , , , 

The mother

of my father came daily

to our house,

were it only

for a moment,

in order

to see her little grandson.

I was her joy

and her delight.

She was a quiet

and most amiable old woman,

with mild blue eyes

and a fine figure,

which life had severely tried.

From having been the wife

of a countryman

in easy circumstances she had now fallen

into great poverty,

and dwelt

with her feeble-minded husband

in a little house,

which was the last,

poor remains

of their property.

I never saw her shed a tear.

But it made all the deeper impression upon me

when she quietly sighed,

and told me

about her own mother’s mother,

how she had been a rich,

noble lady

in the city

of Cassel,


that she had married a “comedy-player,”

that was

as she expressed it,

and run away

from parents

and home,

for all


which her posterity had now

to do penance.

I never

can recollect

that I heard her mention the family name

of her grandmother;

but her own maiden name was Nommesen.

She was employed

to take care

of the garden belonging

to a lunatic asylum,

and every Sunday evening she brought us some flowers,

which they gave her permission

to take home

with her.

These flowers adorned my mother’s cupboard;

but still they were mine,


to me it was allowed

to put them

in the glass

of water.

How great was this pleasure!

She brought them all

to me;

she loved me

with her whole soul.

I knew it,

and I understood it.

, , , , , 

She burned,


in the year,

the green rubbish

of the garden;

on such occasions she took me

with her

to the asylum,

and I lay upon the great heaps

of green leaves

and pea-straw.

I had many flowers

to play with,


--which was a circumstance upon

which I set great importanceù I had here better food

to eat

than I

could expect

at home.

, , , , , 

All such patients

as were harmless were permitted

to go freely

about the court;

they often came

to us

in the garden,


with curiosity

and terror I listened

to them

and followed them about;



even ventured so far as

to go

with the attendants

to those

who were raving mad.

A long passage led

to their cells.

On one occasion,

when the attendants were out

of the way,

I lay down upon the floor,

and peeped

through the crack

of the door

into one

of these cells.

I saw within a lady

almost naked,


on her straw bed;

her hair hung down

over her shoulders,

and she sang

with a very beautiful voice.


at once she sprang up,

and threw herself

against the door

where I lay;

the little valve through

which she received her food burst open;

she stared down upon me,

and stretched out her long arm

towards me.

I screamed

for terror

--I felt the tips

of her fingers touching my clothes

--I was half dead

when the attendant came;

and even

in later years

that sight


that feeling remained within my soul.

, , , , , 

Close beside the place

where the leaves were burned,

the poor old women had their spinning-room.

I often went

in there,

and was very soon a favorite.


with these people,

I found myself possessed

of an eloquence

which filled them

with astonishment.

I had accidentally heard

about the internal mechanism

of the human frame,

of course without understanding anything

about it;

but all these mysteries were very captivating

to me;


with chalk,


I drew a quantity

of flourishes

on the door,

which were

to represent the intestines;

and my description

of the heart

and the lungs made the deepest impression.

I passed

for a remarkably wise child,


would not live long;

and they rewarded my eloquence

by telling me tales

in return;

and thus a world

as rich

as that

of the thousand

and one nights was revealed

to me.

The stories told

by these old ladies,

and the insane figures

which I saw

around me

in the asylum,


in the meantime so powerfully upon me,


when it grew dark I scarcely dared

to go out

of the house.

I was therefore permitted,


at sunset,

to lay me down

in my parents’ bed

with its long flowered curtains,

because the press-bed


which I slept

could not conveniently be put down so early

in the evening

on account

of the room it occupied

in our small dwelling;

and here,

in the paternal bed,

lay I

in a waking dream,


if the actual world did not concern me.

I was very much afraid

of my weak-minded grandfather.

Only once had he ever spoken

to me,


then he had made use

of the formal pronoun “you.”

He employed himself

in cutting out

of wood strange figures,


with beasts’ heads,

and beasts

with wings;

these he packed

in a basket

and carried them out

into the country,

where he was everywhere well received

by the peasant women,

because he gave

to them

and their children these strange toys.

One day,

when he was returning

to Odense,

I heard the boys

in the street shouting after him;

I hid myself

behind a flight

of steps

in terror,

for I knew

that I was

of his flesh

and blood.

, , , , , 

Every circumstance

around me tended

to excite my imagination.

Odense itself,

in those days



there was not a single steamboat

in existence,


when intercourse

with other places was much more rare

than now,

was a totally different city


what it is

in our day;

a person might have fancied himself living hundreds

of years ago,

because so many customs prevailed


which belonged

to an earlier age.

The guilds walked

in procession

through the town

with their harlequin

before them

with mace

and bells;

on Shrove Tuesday the butchers led the fattest ox

through the streets adorned

with garlands,

whilst a boy

in a white shirt


with great wings

on his shoulders rode upon it;

the sailors paraded

through the city

with music

and all their flags flying,


then two

of the boldest

among them stood

and wrestled upon a plank placed

between two boats,

and the one

who was not thrown

into the water was the victor.

, , , , , 



which more particularly stamped itself upon my memory,

and became refreshed

by after often-repeated relations,


the abode

of the Spaniards

in Funen

in 1808.

It is true that


that time I was

but three years old;

still I nevertheless perfectly remember the brown foreign men

who made disturbances

in the streets,

and the cannon

which were fired.

I saw the people lying

on straw

in a half-tumbledown church,

which was near the asylum.

One day,

a Spanish soldier took me

in his arms

and pressed a silver image,

which he wore upon his breast,

to my lips.

I remember

that my mother was angry

at it,


she said,

there was something papistical

about it;

but the image,

and the strange man,

who danced me about,

kissed me

and wept,

pleased me:

certainly he had children

at home

in Spain.

I saw one

of his comrades led

to execution;

he had killed a Frenchman.

Many years afterwards this little circumstance occasioned me

to write my little poem,

“The Soldier,”

which Chamisso translated

into German,


which afterwards was included

in the illustrated people’s books

of soldier-songs.


This same little song,


to me

by the author,

was translated

by me

and published

in the 19th No. of Howitt’s Journal.



I very seldom played

with other boys;


at school I took little interest

in their games,

but remained sitting within doors.

At home I had playthings enough,

which my father made

for me.

My greatest delight was

in making clothes

for my dolls,


in stretching out one

of my mother’s aprons

between the wall

and two sticks

before a currant-bush

which I had planted

in the yard,

and thus

to gaze


between the sun-illumined leaves.

I was a singularly dreamy child,

and so constantly went about

with my eyes shut,


at last

to give the impression

of having weak sight,

although the sense

of sight was especially cultivated

by me.

, , , , , 


during the harvest,

my mother went

into the field

to glean.

I accompanied her,

and we went,

like Ruth

in the Bible,

to glean

in the rich fields

of Boaz.

One day we went

to a place,

the bailiff


which was well known

for being a man

of a rude

and savage disposition.

We saw him coming

with a huge whip

in his hand,

and my mother

and all the others ran away.

I had wooden shoes

on my bare feet,


in my haste I lost these,


then the thorns pricked me so

that I

could not run,

and thus I was left behind

and alone.

The man came up

and lifted his whip

to strike me,

when I looked him

in the face

and involuntarily exclaimed,


“How dare you strike me,

when God

can see it?”

, , , , , 

The strong,

stern man looked

at me,


at once became mild;

he patted me

on my cheeks,

asked me my name,

and gave me money.

, , , , , 

When I brought this

to my mother

and showed it her,

she said

to the others,

“He is a strange child,

my Hans Christian;

everybody is kind

to him:

this bad fellow

even has given him money.”

, , , , , 

I grew up pious

and superstitious.

I had no idea

of want

or need;

to be sure my parents had only sufficient

to live

from day

to day,

but I

at least had plenty

of every thing;

an old woman altered my father’s clothes

for me.



then I went

with my parents

to the theatre,

where the first representations

which I saw were

in German.

“Das Donauweibchen” was the favorite piece

of the whole city;



I saw,

for the first time,

Holberg’s Village Politicians treated

as an opera.

, , , , , 

The first impression

which a theatre

and the crowd assembled

there made upon me was,

at all events,

no sign

of any thing poetical slumbering

in me;

for my first exclamation

on seeing so many people,



if we only had

as many casks

of butter


there are people here,

then I

would eat lots

of butter!”

The theatre,


soon became my favorite place,


as I

could only very seldom go there,

I acquired the friendship

of the man

who carried out the playbills,

and he gave me one every day.

With this I seated myself

in a corner

and imagined an entire play,


to the name

of the piece

and the characters

in it.

That was my first,

unconscious poetising.

, , , , , 

My father’s favorite reading was plays

and stories,

although he also read works

of history

and the Scriptures.

He pondered

in silent thought afterwards upon


which he had read,

but my mother did not understand him

when he talked

with her

about them,

and therefore he grew more

and more silent.

One day,

he closed the Bible

with the words,

“Christ was a man

like us,

but an extraordinary man!”

These words horrified my mother,

and she burst

into tears.

In my distress I prayed

to God

that he

would forgive this fearful blasphemy

in my father.

“There is no other devil than


which we have

in our own hearts,”

I heard my father say one day

and I made myself miserable

about him

and his soul;

I was therefore entirely

of the opinion

of my mother

and the neighbours,

when my father,

one morning,

found three scratches

on his arm,

probably occasioned

by a nail,

that the devil had been

to visit him

in the night,

in order

to prove

to him

that he really existed.

My father’s rambles

in the wood became more frequent;

he had no rest.

The events

of the war

in Germany,

which he read

in the newspapers

with eager curiosity,

occupied him completely.

Napoleon was his hero:

his rise

from obscurity was the most beautiful example

to him.


that time Denmark was

in league

with France;

nothing was talked


but war;

my father entered the service

as a soldier,

in hope

of returning home a lieutenant.

My mother wept.

The neighbours shrugged their shoulders,

and said

that it was folly

to go out

to be shot


there was no occasion

for it.

, , , , , 

The morning


which the corps were

to march I heard my father singing

and talking merrily,

but his heart was deeply agitated;

I observed that

by the passionate manner


which he kissed me

when he took his leave.

I lay sick

of the measles

and alone

in the room,

when the drums beat

and my mother accompanied my father,


to the city gate.

As soon

as they were gone my old grandmother came in;

she looked

at me

with her mild eyes

and said,


would be a good thing

if I died;


that God’s

will was always the best.

, , , , , 

That was the first day

of real sorrow

which I remember.

, , , , , 

The regiment advanced no farther

than Holstein,

peace was concluded,

and the voluntary soldier returned

to his work-stool.

Everything fell

into its old course.

I played again

with my dolls,

acted comedies,

and always

in German,

because I had only seen them

in this language;

but my German was a sort

of gibberish

which I made up,




there occurred only one real German word,


that was “Besen,”

a word

which I had picked up out

of the various dialects

which my father brought home

from Holstein.

, , , , , 

“Thou hast indeed some benefit

from my travels,”

said he

in joke.

“God knows whether thou wilt get

as far;


that must be thy care.


about it,

Hans Christian!”

But it was my mother’s intention that

as long

as she had any voice

in the matter,


should remain

at home,

and not lose my health

as he had done.

, , , , , 

That was the case

with him;

his health had suffered.

One morning he woke

in a state

of the wildest excitement,

and talked only

of campaigns

and Napoleon.

He fancied

that he had received orders

from him

to take the command.

My mother immediately sent me,


to the physician,


to a so-called wise woman some miles

from Odense.

I went

to her.

She questioned me,

measured my arm

with a woolen thread,

made extraordinary signs,


at last laid a green twig upon my breast.

It was,

she said,

a piece

of the same kind

of tree upon

which the Saviour was crucified.

, , , , , 

“Go now,”

said she,

“by the river side

towards home.

If your father

will die this time,

then you

will meet his ghost.”

, , , , , 

My anxiety

and distress may be imagined,


who was so full

of superstition,

and whose imagination was so easily excited.

, , , , , 

“And thou hast not met anything,

hast thou?”

inquired my mother

when I got home.

I assured her,

with beating heart,

that I had not.

, , , , , 

My father died the third day after that.

His corpse lay

on the bed:

I therefore slept

with my mother.

A cricket chirped the whole night through.

, , , , , 

“He is dead,”

said my mother,

addressing it;

“thou needest not call him.

The ice maiden has fetched him.”

, , , , , 

I understood

what she meant.

I recollected that,

in the winter before,

when our window panes were frozen,

my father pointed

to them

and showed us a figure

as that

of a maiden

with outstretched arms.

“She is come

to fetch me,”

said he,

in jest.

And now,

when he lay dead

on the bed,

my mother remembered this,

and it occupied my thoughts also.

, , , , , 

He was buried

in St. Knud’s churchyard,

by the door

on the left hand side coming

from the altar.

My grandmother planted roses upon his grave.

There are now

in the selfsame place two strangers’ graves,

and the grass grows green upon them also.

, , , , , 

After my father’s death I was entirely left

to myself.

My mother went out washing.

I sate alone

at home

with my little theatre,

made dolls’ clothes

and read plays.

It has been told me

that I was always clean

and nicely dressed.

I had grown tall;

my hair was long,



almost yellow,

and I always went bare-headed.

There dwelt

in our neighborhood the widow

of a clergyman,

Madame Bunkeflod,

with the sister

of her deceased husband.

This lady opened

to me her door,

and hers was the first house belonging

to the educated class


which I was kindly received.

The deceased clergyman had written poems,

and had gained a reputation

in Danish literature.

His spinning songs were


that time

in the mouths

of the people.

In my vignettes

to the Danish poets I thus sang

of him whom my contemporaries had forgotten:


 Spindles rattle,

wheels turn round,

 Spinning-songs depart;


which youth sings soon become


of the heart.

, , , , , 

Here it was

that I heard

for the first time the word poet spoken,

and that

with so much reverence,

as proved it

to be something sacred.

It is true

that my father had read Holberg’s play

to me;

but here it was not

of these

that they spoke,


of verses

and poetry.

“My brother the poet,”

said Bunkeflod’s sister,

and her eyes sparkled

as she said it.

From her I learned

that it was a something glorious,

a something fortunate,

to be a poet.



for the first time,

I read Shakspeare,

in a bad translation,

to be sure;

but the bold descriptions,

the heroic incidents,


and ghosts were exactly

to my taste.

I immediately acted Shakspeare’s plays

on my little puppet theatre.

I saw Hamlet’s ghost,

and lived upon the heath

with Lear.

The more persons died

in a play,

the more interesting I thought it.

At this time I wrote my first piece:

it was nothing less

than a tragedy,


as a matter

of course,

everybody died.

The subject

of it I borrowed

from an old song

about Pyramus

and Thisbe;

but I had increased the incidents

through a hermit

and his son,

who both loved Thisbe,


who both killed themselves

when she died.

Many speeches

of the hermit were passages

from the Bible,

taken out

of the little catechism,


from our duty

to our neighbors.

To the piece I gave the title “Abor

and Elvira.”

, , , , , 

“It ought

to be called ‘Perch


and Stockfish,’” said one

of our neighbors wittily

to me,

as I came

with it

to her after having read it

with great satisfaction

and joy

to all the people

in our street.

This entirely depressed me,

because I felt

that she was turning both me

and my poem

to ridicule.

With a troubled heart I told it

to my mother.

, , , , , 

“She only said so,”

replied my mother,

“because her son had not done it.”

I was comforted,

and began a new piece,


which a king

and queen were

among the dramatis personae.

I thought it was not quite right

that these dignified personages,


in Shakspeare,

should speak

like other men

and women.

I asked my mother

and different people

how a king ought properly

to speak,

but no one knew exactly.

They said

that it was so many years

since a king had been

in Odense,


that he certainly spoke

in a foreign language.

I procured myself,


a sort

of lexicon,


which were German,


and English words

with Danish meanings,

and this helped me.

I took a word out

of each language,

and inserted them

into the speeches

of my king

and queen.

It was a regular Babel-like language,

which I considered only suitable

for such elevated personages.

, , , , , 

I desired now

that everybody

should hear my piece.

It was a real felicity

to me

to read it aloud,

and it never occurred

to me

that others

should not have the same pleasure

in listening

to it.

, , , , , 

The son

of one

of our neighbors worked

in a cloth manufactory,

and every week brought home a sum

of money.

I was

at a loose end,

people said,

and got nothing.

I was also now

to go

to the manufactory,


for the sake

of the money,”

my mother said,


that she might know

where I was,


what I was doing.”

, , , , , 

My old grandmother took me

to the place,


and was very much affected,


said she,

she had not expected

to live

to see the time

when I

should consort

with the poor ragged lads

that worked there.

, , , , , 


of the journeymen

who were employed

in the manufactory were Germans;

they sang

and were merry fellows,

and many a coarse joke

of theirs filled the place

with loud laughter.

I heard them,

and I

there learned that,

to the innocent ears

of a child,

the impure remains very unintelligible.

It took no hold upon my heart.

I was possessed


that time

of a remarkably beautiful

and high soprano voice,

and I knew it;


when I sang

in my parents’ little garden,

the people

in the street stood

and listened,

and the fine folks

in the garden

of the states-councillor,

which adjoined ours,


at the fence.



the people

at the manufactory asked me whether I

could sing,

I immediately began,

and all the looms stood still:

all the journeymen listened

to me.

I had

to sing again

and again,

whilst the other boys had my work given them

to do.

I now told them

that I also

could act plays,


that I knew whole scenes

of Holberg

and Shakspeare.

Everybody liked me;


in this way,

the first days

in the manufactory passed

on very merrily.

One day,


when I was

in my best singing vein,

and everybody spoke

of the extraordinary brilliancy

of my voice,


of the journeymen said

that I was a girl,

and not a boy.

He seized hold

of me.

I cried

and screamed.

The other journeymen thought it very amusing,

and held me fast

by my arms

and legs.

I screamed aloud,

and was

as much ashamed

as a girl;

and then,


from them,

rushed home

to my mother,

who immediately promised me

that I

should never go

there again.

, , , , , 

I again visited Madame Bunkeflod,

for whose birthday I invented

and made a white silk pincushion.

I also made an acquaintance

with another old clergyman’s widow

in the neighborhood.

She permitted me

to read aloud

to her the works

which she had

from the circulating library.


of them began

with these words:

“It was a tempestuous night;

the rain beat

against the window-panes.”

, , , , , 

“That is an extraordinary book,”

said the old lady;

and I quite innocently asked her

how she knew

that it was.


can tell

from the beginning,”

said she,

“that it

will turn out extraordinary.”

, , , , , 

I regarded her penetration

with a sort

of reverence.

, , , , , 


in the harvest time my mother took me

with her many miles

from Odense

to a nobleman’s seat

in the neighborhood

of Bogense,

her native place.

The lady

who lived there,


with whose parents my mother had lived,

had said

that some time she might come

and see her.

That was a great journey

for me:

we went most

of the way

on foot,

and required,

I believe,

two days

for the journey.

The country here made such a strong impression upon me,

that my most earnest wish was

to remain

in it,

and become a countryman.

It was just

in the hop-picking season;

my mother

and I sat

in the barn

with a great many country people round a great binn,

and helped

to pick the hops.

They told tales

as they sat

at their work,

and every one related

what wonderful things he had seen

or experienced.

One afternoon I heard an old man

among them say

that God knew every thing,


what had happened



would happen.

That idea occupied my whole mind,


towards evening,

as I went alone

from the court,


there was a deep pond,

and stood upon some stones

which were just within the water,

the thought passed

through my head,

whether God actually knew everything

which was

to happen there.


he has now determined

that I

should live

and be so many years old,

thought I;


if I now were

to jump

into the water here

and drown myself,

then it

would not be

as he wished;

and all

at once I was firmly

and resolutely determined

to drown myself.

I ran


where the water was deepest,


then a new thought passed

through my soul.

“It is the devil

who wishes

to have power

over me!”

I uttered a loud cry,


running away

from the place


if I were pursued,

fell weeping

into my mother’s arms.

But neither she nor any one else

could wring

from me

what was amiss

with me.

, , , , , 

“He has certainly seen a ghost,”

said one

of the women;

and I

almost believed so myself.

, , , , , 

My mother married a second time,

a young handicraftsman;

but his family,

who also belonged

to the handicraft class,


that he had married below himself,

and neither my mother nor myself were permitted

to visit them.

My step-father was a young,

grave man,


would have nothing

to do

with my education.

I spent my time,


over my peep show

and my puppet theatre,

and my greatest happiness consisted

in collecting bright colored pieces

of cloth

and silk,

which I cut out myself

and sewed.

My mother regarded it

as good exercise preparatory

to my becoming a tailor,

and took up the idea

that I certainly was born

for it.


on the contrary,


that I

would go

to the theatre

and be an actor,

a wish

which my mother most sedulously opposed,

because she knew

of no other theatre

than those

of the strolling players

and the rope-dancers.


a tailor I must


should be.

The only thing which

in some measure reconciled me

to this prospect was,

that I should

then get so many fragments

to make up

for my theatre.

, , , , , 

My passion

for reading,

the many dramatic scenes

which I knew

by heart,

and my remarkably fine voice,

had turned upon me

in some sort the attention

of several

of the more influential families

of Odense.

I was sent for

to their houses,

and the peculiar characteristics

of my mind excited their interest.

Among others

who noticed me was the Colonel Hoegh-Guldberg,


with his family showed me the kindest sympathy;

so much so,


that he introduced me

to the present king,

then Prince Christian.

, , , , , 

I grew rapidly,

and was a tall lad,

of whom my mother said

that she

could not let him any longer go

about without any object

in life.

I was sent,


to the charity school,

but learned only religion,


and arithmetic,

and the last badly enough;


could also scarcely spell a word correctly.

On the master’s birthday I always wove him a garland

and wrote him a poem;

he received them half

with smiles

and half

as a joke;

the last time,


he scolded me.

The street lads had also heard

from their parents

of my peculiar turn

of mind,


that I was

in the habit

of going

to the houses

of the gentry.

I was therefore one day pursued

by a wild crowd

of them,

who shouted after me derisively,

“There runs the play-writer!”

I hid myself

at home

in a corner,


and prayed

to God.

, , , , , 

My mother said

that I must be confirmed,

in order

that I might be apprenticed

to the tailor trade,

and thus do something rational.

She loved me

with her whole heart,

but she did not understand my impulses

and my endeavors,

nor indeed


that time did I myself.

The people

about her always spoke

against my odd ways,

and turned me

to ridicule.

, , , , , 

We belonged

to the parish

of St. Knud,

and the candidates

for confirmation

could either enter their names

with the prevost

or the chaplain.

The children

of the so-called superior families

and the scholars

of the grammar school went

to the first,

and the children

of the poor

to the second.



announced myself

as a candidate

to the prevost,

who was obliged

to receive me,

although he discovered vanity

in my placing myself

among his catechists,


although taking the lowest place,

I was still

above those

who were

under the care

of the chaplain.

I would,



that it was not alone vanity

which impelled me.

I had a sort

of fear

of the poor boys,

who had laughed

at me,

and I always felt

as it were an inward drawing

towards the scholars

of the grammar school,

whom I regarded

as far better

than other boys.

When I saw them playing

in the church-yard,


would stand outside the railings,

and wish

that I were


among the fortunate ones,


for the sake

of play,


for the sake

of the many books they had,



what they might be able

to become

in the world.

With the prevost,



should be able

to come together

with them,

and be

as they were;

but I do not remember a single one

of them now,

so little intercourse

would they hold

with me.

I had daily the feeling

of having thrust myself


where people thought

that I did not belong.

One young girl,


there was,

and one

who was considered too

of the highest rank,

whom I shall afterwards have

to mention;

she always looked gently

and kindly

at me,


even once gave me a rose.

I returned home full

of happiness,


there was one being

who did not overlook

and repel me.

, , , , , 

An old female tailor altered my deceased father’s great coat

into a confirmation suit

for me;


before had I worn so good a coat.

I had also

for the first time

in my life a pair

of boots.

My delight was extremely great;

my only fear was

that everybody

would not see them,

and therefore I drew them up

over my trousers,

and thus marched

through the church.

The boots creaked,


that inwardly pleased me,

for thus the congregation

would hear

that they were new.

My whole devotion was disturbed;

I was aware

of it,

and it caused me a horrible pang

of conscience

that my thoughts

should be

as much

with my new boots


with God.

I prayed him earnestly

from my heart

to forgive me,


then again I thought

about my new boots.

, , , , , 

During the last year I had saved together a little sum

of money.

When I counted it

over I found it

to be thirteen rix dollars banco

(about thirty shillings)

I was quite overjoyed

at the possession

of so much wealth,


as my mother now most resolutely required

that I

should be apprenticed

to a tailor,

I prayed

and besought her

that I might make a journey

to Copenhagen,

that I might see the greatest city

in the world.

“What wilt thou do there?”

asked my mother.

, , , , , 


will become famous,”

returned I,

and I

then told her all

that I had read

about extraordinary men.

“People have,”

said I,

“at first an immense deal

of adversity

to go through,


then they

will be famous.”

, , , , , 

It was a wholly unintelligible impulse

that guided me.

I wept,

I prayed,


at last my mother consented,

after having first sent

for a so-called wise woman out

of the hospital,

that she might read my future fortune

by the coffee-grounds

and cards.

, , , , , 

“Your son

will become a great man,”

said the old woman,


in honor

of him,


will one day be illuminated.”

, , , , , 

My mother wept

when she heard that,

and I obtained permission

to travel.

All the neighbors told my mother

that it was a dreadful thing

to let me,

at only fourteen years

of age,


to Copenhagen,

which was such a long way off,

and such a great

and intricate city,


where I knew nobody.

, , , , , 


replied my mother,

“but he lets me have no peace;

I have therefore given my consent,

but I am sure

that he

will go no further

than Nyborg;

when he gets sight

of the rough sea,


will be frightened

and turn back again.”

, , , , , 

During the summer

before my confirmation,

a part

of the singers

and performers

of the Theatre Royal had been

in Odense,

and had given a series

of operas

and tragedies there.

The whole city was taken

with them.


who was

on good terms

with the man

who delivered the play-bills,

saw the performances

behind the scenes,

and had

even acted a part

as page,



and had spoken a few words.

My zeal was so great

on such occasions,

that I stood

there fully apparelled

when the actors arrived

to dress.

By these means their attention was turned

to me;

my childlike manners

and my enthusiasm amused them;

they talked kindly

with me,

and I looked up

to them as

to earthly divinities.


which I had formerly heard

about my musical voice,

and my recitation

of poetry,

became intelligible

to me.

It was the theatre


which I was born:

it was there

that I

should become a famous man,



that reason Copenhagen was the goal

of my endeavors.

I heard a deal said

about the large theatre

in Copenhagen,



there was

to be soon

what was called the ballet,

a something

which surpassed both the opera

and the play;

more especially did I hear the solo-dancer,

Madame Schall,



as the first

of all.

She therefore appeared

to me

as the queen

of everything,


in my imagination I regarded her

as the one


would be able

to do everything

for me,

if I

could only obtain her support.


with these thoughts,

I went

to the old printer Iversen,


of the most respectable citizens

of Odense,

and who,

as I heard,

had had considerable intercourse

with the actors

when they were

in the town.


I thought,


of necessity be acquainted

with the famous dancer;

him I

would request

to give me a letter

of introduction

to her,


then I

would commit the rest

to God.

, , , , , 

The old man saw me

for the first time,

and heard my petition

with much kindness;

but he dissuaded me most earnestly

from it,

and said

that I might learn a trade.

, , , , , 


would actually be a great sin,”

returned I. He was startled

at the manner


which I said that,

and it prepossessed him

in my favor;

he confessed

that he was not personally acquainted

with the dancer,

but still

that he

would give me a letter

to her.

I received one

from him,

and now believed the goal

to be nearly won.

, , , , , 

My mother packed up my clothes

in a small bundle,

and made a bargain

with the driver

of a post carriage

to take me back

with him

to Copenhagen

for three rix dollars banco.

The afternoon


which we were

to set out came,

and my mother accompanied me

to the city gate.

Here stood my old grandmother;

in the last few years her beautiful hair had become grey;

she fell upon my neck

and wept,

without being able

to speak a word.

I was myself deeply affected.

And thus we parted.

I saw her no more;

she died

in the following year.

, , , , , 

I do not

even know her grave;

she sleeps

in the poor-house burial-ground.

, , , , , 

The postilion blew his horn;

it was a glorious sunny afternoon,

and the sunshine soon entered

into my gay child-like mind.

I delighted

in every novel object

which met my eye,

and I was journeying

towards the goal

of my soul’s desires.



I arrived

at Nyborg

on the great Belt,

and was borne

in the ship away

from my native island,


then truly felt

how alone

and forlorn I was,


that I had no one else except God

in heaven

to depend upon.

, , , , , 

As soon

as I set foot

on Zealand,

I stepped

behind a shed,

which stood

on the shore,

and falling upon my knees,


of God

to help

and guide me aright;

I felt myself comforted

by so doing,

and I firmly trusted

in God

and my own good fortune.

The whole day

and the following night I travelled

through cities

and villages;

I stood solitarily

by the carriage,

and ate my bread

while it was repacked.

--I thought I was far away

in the wide world.

, , , , , 


, , , , , 

On Monday morning,

September 5th,


I saw

from the heights

of Frederiksburg,


for the first time.

At this place I alighted

from the carriage,


with my little bundle

in my hand,

entered the city

through the castle garden,

the long alley

and the suburb.

, , , , , 

The evening

before my arrival had been made memorable

by the breaking out

of the so-called Jews quarrel,

which spread

through many European countries.

The whole city was

in commotion


This remarkable disturbance makes a fine incident

in Anderson’s romance

of “Only a Fiddler.”



every body was

in the streets;

the noise

and tumult

of Copenhagen far exceeded,


any idea

which my imagination had formed

of this,


that time,

to me great city.

, , , , , 

With scarcely ten dollars

in my pocket,

I turned

into a small public-house.

My first ramble was

to the theatre.

I went round it many times;

I looked up

to its walls,

and regarded them almost

as a home.


of the bill-sellers,

who wandered

about here each day,

observed me,

and asked me

if I

would have a bill.

I was so wholly ignorant

of the world,

that I thought the man wished

to give me one;

I therefore accepted his offer

with thankfulness.

He fancied I was making fun

of him

and was angry;


that I was frightened,

and hastened

from the place

which was

to me the dearest

in the city.

Little did I

then imagine

that ten years afterwards my first dramatic piece

would be represented there,

and that

in this manner I

should make my appearance

before the Danish public.

On the following day I dressed myself

in my confirmation suit,

nor were the boots forgotten,


this time,

they were worn,


under my trousers;

and thus,

in my best attire,

with a hat on,

which fell half

over my eyes,

I hastened

to present my letter

of introduction

to the dancer,

Madame Schall.

Before I rung

at the bell,

I fell

on my knees

before the door

and prayed God

that I here might find help

and support.

A maid-servant came down the steps

with her basket

in her hand;

she smiled kindly

at me,

gave me a skilling


and tripped on.


I looked

at her

and the money.

I had

on my confirmation suit,

and thought I must look very smart.



could she think

that I wanted

to beg?

I called after her.

, , , , , 

“Keep it,

keep it!”

said she

to me,

in return,

and was gone.

, , , , , 

At length I was admitted

to the dancer;

she looked

at me

in great amazement,


then heard

what I had

to say.

She had not the slightest knowledge

of him

from whom the letter came,

and my whole appearance

and behavior seemed very strange

to her.

I confessed

to her my heartfelt inclination

for the theatre;

and upon her asking me

what characters I thought I

could represent,

I replied,


This piece had been performed

in Odense

by the royal company,

and the principal characters had so greatly taken my fancy,

that I

could play the part perfectly

from memory.

In the mean time I asked her permission

to take off my boots,

otherwise I was not light enough

for this character;


then taking up my broad hat

for a tambourine,

I began

to dance

and sing,


 “Here below,

nor rank nor riches,

Are exempt

from pain

and woe.”

, , , , , 

My strange gestures

and my great activity caused the lady

to think me out

of my mind,

and she lost no time

in getting rid

of me.

, , , , , 

From her I went

to the manager

of the theatre,

to ask

for an engagement.

He looked

at me,

and said

that I was “too thin

for the theatre.”

, , , , , 


replied I,

“if you

will only engage me

with one hundred rix dollars banco salary,

then I shall soon get fat!”

The manager bade me gravely go my way,


that they only engaged people

of education.

, , , , , 

I stood

there deeply wounded.

I knew no one

in all Copenhagen


could give me either counsel

or consolation.

I thought

of death

as being the only thing,

and the best thing

for me;

but even

then my thoughts rose upwards

to God,


with all the undoubting confidence

of a child

in his father,

they riveted themselves upon Him.

I wept bitterly,


then I said

to myself,

“When everything happens really miserably,

then he sends help.

I have always read so.

People must first

of all suffer a great deal

before they

can bring anything

to accomplishment.”

, , , , , 

I now went

and bought myself a gallery-ticket

for the opera

of Paul

and Virginia.

The separation

of the lovers affected me

to such a degree,

that I burst

into violent weeping.

A few women,

who sat near me,

consoled me

by saying

that it was only a play,

and nothing

to trouble oneself about;


then they gave me a sausage sandwich.

I had the greatest confidence

in everybody,

and therefore I told them,

with the utmost openness,

that I did not really weep

about Paul

and Virginia,


because I regarded the theatre

as my Virginia,

and that

if I must be separated

from it,


should be just

as wretched

as Paul.

They looked

at me,

and seemed not

to understand my meaning.


then told them

why I had come

to Copenhagen,


how forlorn I was there.


of the women,


gave me more,

bread andebutter,

with fruit

and cakes.

, , , , , 

On the following morning I paid my bill,


to my infinite trouble I saw

that my whole wealth consisted

in one rix dollar banco.

It was necessary,



that I

should find some vessel

to take me home,

or put myself

to work

with some handicraftsman.

I considered

that the last was the wiser

of the two,


if I returned

to Odense,

I must

there also put myself

to work

of a similar kind;

besides which,

I knew very well

that the people


would laugh

at me

if I came back again.

It was

to me a matter

of indifference

what handicraft trade I learned,

--I only

should make use

of it

to keep life within me

in Copenhagen.

I bought a newspaper,


I found

among the advertisements

that a cabinet maker was

in want

of an apprentice.

The man received me kindly,

but said


before I was bound

to him he must have an attestation,

and my baptismal register

from Odense;



till these came I

could remove

to his house,

and try

how the business pleased me.

At six o’clock the next morning I went

to the workshop:

several journeymen were there,

and two

or three apprentices;

but the master was not come.

They fell

into merry

and idle discourse.

I was

as bashful

as a girl,


as they soon perceived this,

I was unmercifully rallied upon it.


in the day the rude jests

of the young fellows went so far,


in remembrance

of the scene

at the manufactory,

I took the resolute determination not

to remain a single day longer

in the workshop.

I went down

to the master,


and told him

that I

could not stand it;

he tried

to console me,


in vain:

I was too much affected,

and hastened away.

, , , , , 

I now went

through the streets;

nobody knew me;

I was quite forlorn.


then bethought myself

of having read

in a newspaper

in Odense the name

of an Italian,


who was the director

of the Academy

of Music

in Copenhagen.

Everybody had praised my voice;

perhaps he

would assist me

for its sake;

if not,


that very evening I must seek out the master

of some vessel


would take me home again.

At the thoughts

of the journey home I became still more violently excited,


in this state

of suffering I hastened

to Siboni’s house.

, , , , , 

It happened

that very day

that he had a large party

to dinner;

our celebrated composer Weyse was there,

the poet Baggesen,

and other guests.

The housekeeper opened the door

to me,


to her I not only related my wish

to be engaged

as a singer,

but also the whole history

of my life.

She listened

to me

with the greatest sympathy,


then she left me.

I waited a long time,

and she must have been repeating

to the company the greater part


what I had said,


in a while,

the door opened,

and all the guests came out

and looked

at me.


would have me

to sing,

and Siboni heard me attentively.

I gave some scenes out

of Holberg,

and repeated a few poems;

and then,


at once,

the sense

of my unhappy condition so overcame me

that I burst

into tears;

the whole company applauded.

, , , , , 

“I prophesy,”

said Baggesen,

“that one day something

will come out

of him;

but do not be vain when,

some day,

the whole public shall applaud thee!”


then he added something

about pure,

true nature,


that this is too often destroyed

by years and

by intercourse

with mankind.

I did not understand it all.

, , , , , 

Siboni promised

to cultivate my voice,


that I therefore

should succeed

as singer

at the Theatre Royal.

It made me very happy;

I laughed

and wept;


as the housekeeper led me out

and saw the excitement under

which I labored,

she stroked my cheeks,

and said that

on the following day I

should go

to Professor Weyse,

who meant

to do something

for me,

and upon whom I

could depend.

, , , , , 

I went

to Weyse,

who himself had risen

from poverty;

he had deeply felt

and fully comprehended my unhappy situation,

and had raised

by a subscription seventy rix dollars banco

for me.


then wrote my first letter

to my mother,

a letter full

of rejoicing,

for the good fortune

of the whole world seemed poured upon me.

My mother

in her joy showed my letter

to all her friends;

many heard

of it

with astonishment;

others laughed

at it,


what was

to be the end

of it?

In order

to understand Siboni it was necessary

for me

to learn something

of German.

A woman

of Copenhagen,

with whom I travelled

from Odense

to this city,


who gladly,


to her means,

would have supported me,


through one

of her acquaintance,

a language-master,

who gratuitously gave me some German lessons,

and thus I learned a few phrases


that language.

Siboni received me

into his house,

and gave me food

and instruction;

but half a year afterwards my voice broke,

or was injured,

in consequence

of my being compelled

to wear bad shoes

through the winter,

and having

besides no warm under-clothing.

There was no longer any prospect

that I

should become a fine singer.

Siboni told me

that candidly,

and counselled me

to go

to Odense,


there learn a trade.

, , , , , 



in the rich colors

of fancy had described

to my mother the happiness

which I actually felt,

must now return home

and become an object

of derision!


with this thought,

I stood


if crushed

to the earth.


precisely amid this apparently great un-happiness lay the stepping-stones

of a better fortune.

, , , , , 

As I found myself again abandoned,

and was pondering

by myself upon

what was best

for me next

to do,

it occurred

to me

that the Poet Guldberg,

a brother

of the Colonel


that name

in Odense,

who had shown me so much kindness,


in Copenhagen.

He lived


that time near the new church-yard outside the city,


which he has so beautifully sung

in his poems.

I wrote

to him,

and related

to him everything;

afterwards I went

to him myself,

and found him surrounded

with books

and tobacco pipes.

The strong,

warm-hearted man received me kindly;


as he saw

by my letter

how incorrectly I wrote,

he promised

to give me instruction

in the Danish tongue;

he examined me a little

in German,

and thought

that it

would be well

if he

could improve me

in this respect also.


than this,

he made me a present

of the profits

of a little work

which he had just

then published;

it became known,

and I believe they exceeded one hundred rix dollars banco;

the excellent Weyse

and others also supported me.

, , , , , 

It was too expensive

for me

to lodge

at a public house;

I was therefore obliged

to seek

for private lodgings.

My ignorance

of the world led me

to a widow

who lived

in one

of the most disreputable streets

of Copenhagen;

she was inclined

to receive me

into her house,

and I never suspected

what kind

of world it was

which moved

around me.

She was a stern,

but active dame;

she described

to me the other people

of the city

in such horrible colors

as made me suppose

that I was

in the only safe haven there.

I was

to pay twenty rix dollars monthly

for one room,

which was nothing

but an empty store-room,

without window

and light,

but I had permission

to sit

in her parlor.

I was

to make trial

of it

at first

for two days,


on the following day she told me

that I

could decide

to stay

or immediately go.


who so easily attach myself

to people,

already liked her,

and felt myself

at home

with her;

but more

than sixteen dollars per month Weyse had told me I must not pay,

and this was the sum

which I had received

from him

and Guldberg,


that no surplus remained

to me

for my other expenses.

This troubled me very much;

when she was gone out

of the room,

I seated myself

on the sofa,

and contemplated the portrait

of her deceased husband.

, , , , , 

I was so wholly a child,


as the tears rolled down my own cheeks,

I wetted the eyes

of the portrait

with my tears,

in order

that the dead man might feel

how troubled I was,

and influence the heart

of his wife.

She must have seen

that nothing more was

to be drained out

of me,


when she returned

to the room she said

that she

would receive me

into her house

for the sixteen rix dollars.

I thanked God

and the dead man.

I found myself

in the midst

of the mysteries

of Copenhagen,

but I did not understand how

to interpret them.

There was

in the house


which I lived a friendly young lady,

who lived alone,

and often wept;

every evening her old father came

and paid her a visit.

I opened the door

to him frequently;

he wore a plain sort

of coat,

had his throat very much tied up,

and his hat pulled

over his eyes.

He always drank his tea

with her,

and nobody dared

to be present,

because he was not fond

of company:

she never seemed very glad

at his coming.


This character

will be recognised

in Steffen Margaret,

in Only a Fiddler.



Many years afterwards,

when I had reached another step

on the ladder

of life,

when the refined world

of fashionable life was opened

before me,

I saw one evening,

in the midst

of a brilliantly lighted hall,

a polite old gentleman covered

with orders

--that was the old father

in the shabby coat,

he whom I had let in.

He had little idea

that I had opened the door

to him

when he played his part

as guest,

but I,

on my side,

then had also no thought


for my own comedy-playing;

that is

to say,

I was


that time so much

of a child

that I played

with my puppet-theatre

and made my dolls’ clothes;


in order

that I might obtain gaily-colored fragments

for this purpose,

I used

to go

to the shops

and ask

for patterns

of various kinds

of stuffs

and ribbons.

I myself did not possess a single farthing;

my landlady received all the money each month

in advance;

only now

and then,

when I did any errands

for her,

she gave me something,


that went

in the purchase

of paper


for old play-books.

I was now very happy,

and was doubly so

because Professor Guldberg had induced Lindgron,

the first comic actor

at the theatre,

to give me instruction.

He gave me several parts

in Holberg

to learn,


as Hendrik,

and the Silly Boy,


which I had shown some talent.

My desire,



to play the Correggio.

I obtained permission

to learn this piece

in my own way,

although Lindgron asked,

with comic gravity,

whether I expected

to resemble the great painter?




to him the soliloquy

in the picture gallery

with so much feeling,

that the old man clapped me

on the shoulder

and said,

“Feeling you have;

but you must not be an actor,

though God knows

what else.


to Guldberg

about your learning Latin:

that always opens the way

for a student.”

, , , , , 

I a student!

That was a thought

which had never come before

into my head.

The theatre lay nearer

to me,

and was dearer too;

but Latin I had also always wished

to learn.


before I spoke

on the subject

to Guldberg,

I mentioned it

to the lady

who gave me gratuitous instruction

in German;

but she told me

that Latin was the most expensive language

in the world,


that it was not possible

to gain free instruction

in it.



managed it so

that one

of his friends,


of kindness,

gave me two lessons a week.

, , , , , 

The dancer,


whose wife


that time was one

of the first artistes

on the Danish boards,

opened his house

to me.

I passed many an evening there,

and the gentle,

warm-hearted lady was kind

to me.

The husband took me

with him

to the dancing-school,


that was

to me one step nearer

to the theatre.

There stood I

for whole mornings,

with a long staff,

and stretched my legs;

but notwithstanding all my good-will,

it was Dahlen’s opinion

that I

should never get beyond a figurante.

One advantage,


I had gained;

I might

in an evening make my appearance

behind the scenes

of the theatre;


even sit upon the farthest bench

in the box

of the figurantes.

It seemed

to me


if I had got my foot just within the theatre,

although I had never yet been upon the stage itself.

, , , , , 

One night the little opera

of the Two Little Savoyards was given;

in the market scene every one,

even the mechanists,

might go up

to help

in filling the stage;

I heard them say so,

and rouging myself a little,

I went happily up

with the others.

I was

in my ordinary dress;

the confirmation coat,

which still held together,


with regard

to brushing

and repairs,

it lookedebut miserably,

and the great hat

which fell down

over my face.

I was very conscious

of the ill condition

of my attire,


would have been glad

to have concealed it;


through the endeavor

to do so,

my movements became still more angular.

I did not dare

to hold myself upright,


by so doing,

I exhibited all the more plainly the shortness

of my waistcoat,

which I had outgrown.

I had the feeling very plainly

that people

would make themselves merry

about me;


at this moment,

I felt nothing

but the happiness

of stepping

for the first time

before the foot-lamps.

My heart beat;

I stepped forward;

there came up one

of the singers,



that time was much thought of,

but now is forgotten;

he took me

by the hand,

and jeeringly wished me happiness

on my debut.

“Allow me

to introduce you

to the Danish public,”

said he,

and drew me forward

to the lamps.

The people

would laugh

at me

--I felt it;

the tears rolled down my cheeks;

I tore myself loose,

and left the stage full

of anguish.

, , , , , 

Shortly after this,

Dahlen arranged a ballet

of Armida,


which I received a little part:

I was a spirit.

In this ballet I became acquainted

with the lady

of Professor Heiberg,

the wife

of the poet,

and now a highly esteemed actress

on the Danish stage;


then a little girl,

had also a part

in it,

and our names stood printed

in the bill.

That was a moment

in my life,

when my name was printed!

I fancied I

could see it a nimbus

of immortality.

I was continually looking

at the printed paper.

I carried the programme

of the ballet

with me

at night

to bed,


and read my name

by candle light

--in short,

I was happy.

, , , , , 

I had now been two years

in Copenhagen.

The sum

of money

which had been collected

for me was expended,

but I was ashamed

of making known my wants

and my necessities.

I had removed

to the house

of a woman whose husband,

when living,

was master

of a trading-vessel,


there I had only lodging

and breakfast.

Those were heavy,

dark days

for me.

, , , , , 

The lady believed

that I went out

to dine

with various families,

whilst I only ate a little bread

on one

of the benches

in the royal garden.

Very rarely did I venture

into some

of the lowest eating-houses,

and choose

there the least expensive dish.

I was,

in truth,

very forlorn;

but I did not feel the whole weight

of my condition.

Every person

who spoke

to me kindly I took

for a faithful friend.

God was

with me

in my little room;

and many a night,

when I have said my evening prayer,

I asked

of Him,

like a child,

“Will things soon be better

with me?”

I had the notion,


as it went

with me

on New Year’s Day,


would it go

with me

through the whole year;

and my highest wishes were

to obtain a part

in a play.

, , , , , 

It was now New Year’s Day.

The theatre was closed,

and only a half-blind porter sat

at the entrance

to the stage,



there was not a soul.

I stole past him

with beating heart,


between the movable scenes

and the curtain,

and advanced

to the open part

of the stage.

Here I fell down upon my knees,

but not a single verse

for declamation

could I recall

to my memory.


then said aloud the Lord’s Prayer,

and went out

with the persuasion,


because I had spoken

from the stage

on New Year’s Day,

I should

in the course

of the year succeed

in speaking still more,

as well as

in having a part assigned

to me.

, , , , , 

During the two years

of my residence

in Copenhagen I had never been out

into the open country.

Once only had I been

in the park,


there I had been deeply engrossed

by studying the diversions

of the people

and their gay tumult.

In the spring

of the third year,

I went out

for the first time amid the verdure

of a spring morning.

It was

into the garden

of the Fredericksberg,

the summer residence

of Frederick VI.

I stood still suddenly

under the first large budding beech tree.

The sun made the leaves transparent

--there was a fragrance,

a freshness

--the birds sang.

I was overcome

by it

--I shouted aloud

for joy,

threw my arms

around the tree

and kissed it.

, , , , , 

“Is he mad?”

said a man close

behind me.

It was one

of the servants

of the castle.

I ran away,



what I had heard,


then went thoughtfully

and calmly back

to the city.

, , , , , 

My voice had,

in the mean time,

in part regained its richness.

The singing master

of the choir-school heard it,

offered me a place

in the school,

thinking that,

by singing

with the choir,


should acquire greater freedom

in the exercise

of my powers

on the stage.

I thought

that I

could see

by this means a new way opened

for me.

I went

from the dancing-school

into the singing-school,

and entered the choir,


as a shepherd,

and now

as a warrior.

The theatre was my world.

I had permission

to go

in the pit,

and thus it fared ill

with my Latin.

I heard many people say


there was no Latin required

for singing

in the choir,


that without the knowledge

of this language it was possible

to become a great actor.

I thought

there was good sense

in that,

and very often,

either with

or without reason,

excused myself

from my Latin evening lesson.

Guldberg became aware

of this,


for the first time I received a reprimand


almost crushed me

to the earth.

I fancy

that no criminal

could suffer more

by hearing the sentence

of death pronounced upon him.

My distress

of mind must have expressed itself

in my countenance,

for he said “Do not act any more comedy.”

But it was no comedy

to me.

, , , , , 

I was now

to learn Latin no longer.

I felt my dependence upon the kindness

of others

in such a degree

as I had never done before.

Occasionally I had had gloomy

and earnest thoughts

in looking forward

to my future,

because I was

in want

of the very necessaries

of life;

at other times I had the perfect thoughtlessness

of a child.

, , , , , 

The widow

of the celebrated Danish statesman,

Christian Colbj÷rnsen,

and her daughter,

were the first ladies

of high rank

who cordially befriended the poor lad;

who listened

to me

with sympathy,

and saw me frequently.

Mrs. von Colbj÷rnsen resided,

during the summer,

at Bakkehus,

where also lived the poet Rahbek

and his interesting wife.

Rahbek never spoke

to me;

but his lively

and kind-hearted wife often amused herself

with me.

I had


that time again begun

to write a tragedy,

which I read aloud

to her.


on hearing the first scenes,

she exclaimed,

“But you have actually taken whole passages out

of Oehlenschl ger

and Ingemann.”

, , , , , 


but they are so beautiful!”

replied I

in my simplicity,

and read on.

, , , , , 

One day,

when I was going

from her

to Mrs. von Colbj÷rnsen,

she gave me a handful

of roses,

and said,

“Will you take them up

to her?


will certainly give her pleasure

to receive them

from the hand

of a poet.”

These words were said half

in jest;

but it was the first time

that anybody had connected my name

with that

of poet.

It went

through me,


and soul,

and tears filled my eyes.

I know that,

from this very moment,

my mind was awoke

to writing

and poetry.

Formerly it had been merely an amusement

by way

of variety

from my puppet-theatre.

, , , , , 

At Bakkehus lived also Professor Thiele,

a young student


that time,

but even

then the editor

of the Danish popular legends,

and known

to the public

as the solver

of Baggesen’s riddle,


as the writer

of beautiful poetry.

He was possessed

of sentiment,

true inspiration,

and heart.

He had calmly

and attentively watched the unfolding

of my mind,

until we now became friends.

He was one

of the few who,


that time,

spoke the truth

of me,

when other people were making themselves merry

at my expense,

and having only eyes



which was ludicrous

in me.

People had called me,

in jest,

the little orator,


as such,

I was an object

of curiosity.

They found amusement

in me,

and I mistook every smile

for a smile

of applause.


of my later friends has told me

that it probably was

about this period

that he saw me

for the first time.

It was

in the drawing-room

of a rich tradesman,

where people were making themselves very merry

with me.

They desired me

to repeat one

of my poems,


as I did this

with great feeling,

the merriment was changed

into sympathy

with me.

, , , , , 

I heard it said every day,

what a good thing it

would be

for me

if I

could study.

People advised me

to devote myself

to science,

but no one moved one step

to enable me

to do so;

it was labor enough

for me

to keep body

and soul together.

It therefore occurred

to me

to write a tragedy,

which I

would offer

to the Theatre Royal,

and would

then begin

to study

with the money

which I

should thus obtain.

Whilst Guldberg instructed me

in Danish,

I had written a tragedy

from a German story,

called The Chapel

in the Wood;


as this was done merely

as an exercise

in the language,


as he forbade me

in the most decided manner

to bring it out,


would not do so.

I originated my own material,


and within fourteen days I wrote my national tragedy called the Robbers

in Wissenberg

(the name

of a little village

in Funen.)

There was scarcely a word

in it correctly written,

as I had no person

to help me,

because I meant it

to be anonymous;

there was,


one person admitted

into the secret,


the young lady whom I had met with

in Odense,

during my preparation

for confirmation,

the only one who


that time showed me kindness

and good-will.

It was

through her

that I was introduced

to the Colbj÷rnsen family,

and thus known

and received

in all those circles


which the one leads

into the other.

She paid some one

to prepare a legible copy

of my piece,

and undertook

to present it

for perusal.

After an interval

of six weeks,

I received it back,


by a letter

which said the people did not frequently wish

to retain works

which betrayed,

in so great a degree,

a want

of elementary knowledge.

, , , , , 

It was just

at the close

of the theatrical season,

in May,


that I received a letter

from the directors,


which I was dismissed

from the singing

and dancing school,

the letter adding also,

that my participation

in the school-teaching

could lead

to no advantage

for me,


that they wished some

of my many friends

would enable me

to receive an education,

without which,

talent availed nothing.

I felt myself again,

as it were,

cast out

into the wide world without help

and without support.

It was absolutely necessary

that I

should write a piece

for the theatre,


that must be accepted;

there was no other salvation

for me.

I wrote,


a tragedy founded

on a passage

in history,

and I called it Alfsol.

I was delighted

with the first act,


with this I immediately went

to the Danish translator

of Shakspeare,

Admiral Wulff,

now deceased,

who good-naturedly heard me read it.

In after years I met

with the most cordial reception

in his family.


that time I also introduced myself

to our celebrated physician Oersted,

and his house has remained

to me

to this day an affectionate home,


which my heart has firmly attached itself,


where I find my oldest

and most unchangeable friends.

, , , , , 

A favorite preacher,

the rural dean Gutfeldt,

was living


that time,

and he it was

who exerted himself most earnestly

for my tragedy,

which was now finished;

and having written a letter

of recommendation,

he sent it

to the managers

of the theatre.

I was suspended

between hope

and fear.

In the course

of the summer I endured bitter want,

but I told it

to no one,

else many a one,

whose sympathy I had experienced,

would have helped me

to the utmost

of their means.

A false shame prevented me

from confessing

what I endured.

Still happiness filled my heart.

I read then

for the first time the works

of Walter Scott.

A new world was opened

to me:

I forgot the reality,

and gave

to the circulating library



should have provided me

with a dinner.

, , , , , 

The present conference councillor,



of the most distinguished men

of Denmark,

who unites

with the greatest ability the noblest

and best heart,

to whom I looked up

with confidence

in all things,

who has been a second father

to me,


in whose children I have found brothers

and sisters;

--this excellent man I saw now

for the first time.

He was


that time director

of the Theatre Royal,

and people universally told me

that it

would be the best thing

for me

if he

would interest himself

on my behalf:

it was either Oersted

or Gutfeldt

who first mentioned me

to him;

and now

for the first time I went


that house

which was

to become so dear

to me.

Before the ramparts

of Copenhagen were extended,

this house lay outside the gate,

and served

as a summer residence

to the Spanish Ambassador;



it stands,

a crooked,

angular frame-work building,

in a respectable street;

an old-fashioned wooden balcony leads

to the entrance,

and a great tree spreads its green branches

over the court

and its pointed gables.

It was

to become a paternal house

to me.

Who does not willingly linger

over the description

of home?

, , , , , 

I discovered only the man

of business

in Collin;

his conversation was grave and

in few words.

I went away,

without expecting any sympathy

from this man;

and yet it was precisely Collin who

in all sincerity thought

for my advantage,


who worked

for it silently,

as he had done

for others,

through the whole course

of his active life.



that time I did not understand the apparent calmness


which he listened,

whilst his heart bled

for the afflicted,

and he always labored

for them

with zeal

and success,

and knew how

to help them.

He touched so lightly upon my tragedy,

which had been sent

to him,


on account


which many people had overwhelmed me

with flattering speeches,

that I regarded him rather

as an enemy

than a protector.

, , , , , 

In a few day I was sent for

by the directors

of the theatre,

when Rahbek gave me back my play

as useless

for the stage;




there were so many grains

of corn scattered

in it,

that it was hoped,

that perhaps,

by earnest study,

after going

to school

and the previous knowledge

of all

that is requisite,

I might,

some time,

be able

to write a work


should be worthy

of being acted

on the Danish stage.

, , , , , 

In order therefore

to obtain the means

for my support

and the necessary instruction,

Collin recommended me

to King Frederick the Sixth,

who granted

to me a certain sum annually

for some years;


by means

of Collin also,

the directors

of the high schools allowed me

to receive free instruction

in the grammar school

at Slagelse,

where just

then a new,


as was said,

an active rector was appointed.

I was

almost dumb

with astonishment:

never had I thought

that my life

would take this direction,

although I had no correct idea

of the path

which I had now

to tread.

I was

to go

with the earliest mail

to Slagelse,

which lay twelve Danish miles

from Copenhagen,

to the place

where also the poets Baggesen

and Ingemann had gone

to school.

I was

to receive money quarterly

from Collin;

I was

to apply

to him

in all cases,

and he it was

who was

to ascertain my industry

and my progress.

, , , , , 

I went

to him the second time

to express

to him my thanks.


and kindly he said

to me,


to me without restraint

about everything

which you require,

and tell me

how it goes

with you.”

From this hour I struck root

in his heart;

no father

could have been more

to me

than he was,

and is;


could have more heartily rejoiced

in my happiness,

and my after reception

with the public;

none have shared my sorrow more kindly;

and I am proud

to say

that one

of the most excellent men

which Denmark possesses feels

towards me


towards his own child.

His beneficence was conferred without his making me feel it painful either

by word

or look.

That was not the case

with every one

to whom,

in this change

of my fortunes,

I had

to offer my thanks;

I was told

to think

of my inconceivable happiness

and my poverty;

in Collin’s words was expressed the warm-heartedness

of a father,


to him it was

that properly I was indebted

for everything.

, , , , , 

The journey was hastily determined upon,

and I had yet

for myself some business

to arrange.

I had spoken

to an acquaintance

from Odense

who had the management

of a small printing concern,

for a widow,

to get “Alfsal” printed,

that I might,

by the sale

of the work,

make a little money.



the piece was printed,

it was necessary

that I

should obtain a certain number

of subscribers;

but these were not obtained,

and the manuscript lay

in the printing-office,


at the time I went

to fetch it away,

was shut up.

Some years afterwards,


it suddenly made its appearance

in print without my knowledge

or my desire,

in its unaltered shape,

but without my name.

, , , , , 

On a beautiful autumn day I set off

with the mail

from Copenhagen

to begin my school-life

in Slagelse.

A young student,

who a month

before had passed his first examination,

and now was travelling home

to Jutland

to exhibit himself there

as a student,


to see once more his parents

and his friends,


at my side

and exulted

for joy

over the new life

which now lay

before him;

he assured me

that he

should be the most unhappy

of human beings

if he were

in my place,

and were again beginning

to go

to the grammar school.

But I travelled

with a good heart

towards the little city

of Zealand.

My mother received a joyful letter

from me.

I only wished

that my father

and the old grandmother yet lived,


could hear

that I now went

to the grammar school.

, , , , , 


, , , , , 



in the evening,

I arrived

at the inn

in Slagelse,

I asked the hostess


there were anything remarkable

in the city.

, , , , , 


said she,

“a new English fire-engine

and Pastor Bastholm’s library,”

and those probably were all the lions

in the city.

A few officers

of the Lancers composed the fine-gentleman world.

Everybody knew

what was done

in everybody’s house,

whether a scholar was elevated

or degraded

in his class,

and the like.

A private theatre,

to which,

at general rehearsal,

the scholars

of the grammar school

and the maid-servants

of the town had free entrance,

furnished rich material

for conversation.

The place was remote

from woods,

and still farther

from the coast;

but the great post-road went

through the city,

and the post-horn resounded

from the rolling carriage.

, , , , , 

I boarded

with a respectable widow

of the educated class,

and had a little chamber looking out

into the garden

and field.

My place

in the school was

in the lowest class,

among little boys:

--I knew indeed nothing

at all.

, , , , , 

I was actually

like a wild bird

which is confined

in a cage;

I had the greatest desire

to learn,


for the moment I floundered about,


if I had been thrown

into the sea;

the one wave followed another;




--I felt myself overpowered

by them,

and feared

that I

should never be able

to acquire all these.

The rector,

who took a peculiar delight

in turning everything

to ridicule,

did not,

of course,

make an exception

in my case.

To me he stood then

as a divinity;

I believed unconditionally every word

which he spoke.

One day,

when I had replied incorrectly

to his question,

and he said

that I was stupid,

I mentioned it

to Collin,

and told him my anxiety,

lest I did not deserve all

that people had done

for me;

but he consoled me.



on some subjects

of instruction,

I began

to receive a good certificate,

and the teachers were heartily kind

to me;



that I advanced,

I still lost confidence

in myself more

and more.

On one

of the first examinations,


I obtained the praise

of the rector.

He wrote the same

in my character-book;



in this,

I went a few days afterwards

to Copenhagen.


who saw the progress I had made,

received me kindly,

and commended my zeal;

and his brother

in Odense furnished me the next summer

with the means

of visiting the place

of my birth,

where I had not been

since I left it

to seek adventures.

I crossed the Belt,

and went

on foot

to Odense.

When I came near enough

to see the lofty old church tower,

my heart was more

and more affected;

I felt deeply the care

of God

for me,

and I burst

into tears.

My mother rejoiced

over me.

The families

of Iversen

and Guldberg received me cordially;


in the little streets I saw the people open their windows

to look after me,

for everybody knew

how remarkably well things had fared

with me;


I fancied I actually stood upon the pinnacle

of fortune,

when one

of the principal citizens,

who had built a high tower

to his house,

led me up there,

and I looked out thence

over the city,

and the surrounding country,

and some old women

in the hospital below,

who had known me

from childhood,

pointed up

to me.

, , , , , 

As soon,


as I returned

to Slagelse,

this halo

of glory vanished,

as well

as every thought

of it.

I may freely confess

that I was industrious,

and I rose,

as soon

as it was possible,

into a higher class;


in proportion

as I rose did I feel the pressure upon me more strongly,


that my endeavors were not sufficiently productive.

Many an evening,

when sleep overcame me,

did I wash my head

with cold water,

or run

about the lonely little garden,

till I was again wakeful,


could comprehend the book anew.

The rector filled up a portion

of his hours

of teaching

with jests,


and not the happiest

of witticisms.

I was


if paralyzed

with anxiety

when he entered the room,

and from

that cause my replies often expressed the opposite



which I wished

to say,

and thereby my anxiety was all the more increased.

What was

to become

of me?

, , , , , 

In a moment

of ill-humor I wrote a letter

to the head master,

who was one

of those

who was most cordially opposed

to me.

I said

in this letter

that I regarded myself

as a person so little gifted

by nature,

that it was impossible

for me

to study,


that the people

in Copenhagen threw away the money

which they spent upon me:

I besought him therefore

to counsel me

what I

should do.

The excellent man strengthened me

with mild words,

and wrote

to me a most friendly

and consolatory letter;

he said

that the rector meant kindly

by me

--that it was his custom

and way

of acting

--that I was making all the progress

that people

could expect

from me,


that I need not doubt

of my abilities.

He told me

that he himself was a peasant youth

of three

and twenty,


than I myself was,

when he began his studies;

the misfortune

for me was,

that I ought

to have been treated differently

to the other scholars,


that this


hardly be done

in a school;


that things were progressing,


that I stood well both

with the teachers

and my fellow students.

, , , , , 

Every Sunday we had

to attend the church

and hear an old preacher;

the other scholars learned their lessons

in history

and mathematics

while he preached;

I learned my task

in religion,

and thought that,

by so doing,

it was less sinful.

The general rehearsals

at the private theatre were points

of light

in my school life;

they took place

in a back building,

where the lowing

of the cows might be heard;

the street-decoration was a picture

of the marketplace

of the city,


which means the representation had something familiar

about it;

it amused the inhabitants

to see their own houses.

, , , , , 

On Sunday afternoons it was my delight

to go

to the castle

of Antvorskov,


that time only half ruinous,

and once a monastery,

where I pursued the excavating

of the ruined cellars,


if it had been a Pompeii.

I also often rambled

to the crucifix

of St. Anders,

which stands upon one

of the heights

of Slagelse,


which is one

of the wooden crosses erected

in the time

of Catholicism

in Denmark.

St. Anders was a priest

in Slagelse,

and travelled

to the Holy Land;

on the last day he remained so long praying

on the holy grave,

that the ship sailed away without him.


at this circumstance,

he walked

along the shore,

where a man met him riding

on an ass,

and took him up

with him.

Immediately he fell asleep,


when he awoke he heard the bells

of Slagelse ringing.

He lay upon the



of rest,

where the cross now stands.

He was

at home a year

and a day

before the ship returned,

which had sailed away without him,

and an angel had borne him home.

The legend,

and the place

where he woke,

were both favorites

of mine.

From this spot I

could see the ocean

and Funen.

Here I

could indulge my fancies;


at home,

my sense

of duty chained my thoughts only

to my books.

, , , , , 

The happiest time,


was when,


on a Sunday,

whilst the wood was green,

I went

to the city

of Sor÷,




from Slagelse,


which lies

in the midst

of woods,


by lakes.

Here is an academy

for the nobility,


by the poet Holberg.

Everything lay

in a conventual stillness.

I visited here the poet Ingemann,

who had just married,


who held a situation

as teacher;

he had already received me kindly

in Copenhagen;

but here his reception

of me was still more kind.

His life

in this place seemed

to me

like a beautiful story;


and vines twined

around his window;

the rooms were adorned

with the portraits

of distinguished poets,

and other pictures.

We sailed upon the lake

with an Aeolian harp made fast

to the mast.

Ingemann talked so cheerfully,

and his excellent,

amiable wife treated me


if she were an elder sister:

--I loved these people.

Our friendship has grown

with years.

I have been from

that time

almost every summer a welcome guest there,

and I have experienced


there are people

in whose society one is made better,

as it were;


which is bitter passes away,

and the whole world appears

in sunlight.

, , , , , 

Among the pupils

in the academy

of nobles,

there were two

who made verses;

they knew

that I did the same,

and they attached themselves

to me.

The one was Petit,

who afterwards,


with the best intention,

but not faithfully,

translated several

of my books;

the other,

the poet Karl Bagger,


of the most gifted

of men

who has come forward

in Danish literature,


who has been unjustly judged.

His poems are full

of freshness

and originality;

his story,

“The Life

of my Brother,”

is a genial book,

by the critique


which the Danish Monthly Review

of Literature has proved

that it does not understand how

to give judgment.

These two academicians were very different

from me:

life rushed rejoicingly

through their veins;

I was sensitive

and childlike.

In my character-book I always received,

as regarded my conduct,

“remarkably good.”

On one occasion,


I only obtained the testimony

of “very good;”

and so anxious

and childlike was I,

that I wrote a letter

to Collin


that account,

and assured him

in grave earnestness,

that I was perfectly innocent,

although I had only obtained a character

of “very good.”

, , , , , 

The rector grew weary

of his residence

in Slagelse;

he applied

for the vacant post

of rector

in the grammar-school

of Helsing÷r,

and obtained it.

He told me

of it,

and added kindly,

that I might write

to Collin

and ask leave

to accompany him thither;

that I might live

in his house,

and could

even now remove

to his family;


should then

in half a year become a student,


could not be the case

if I remained behind,



then he

would himself give me some private lessons

in Latin

and Greek.

On this same occasion he wrote also

to Collin;

and this letter,

which I afterwards saw,

contained the greatest praise

of my industry,

of the progress I had made,


of my good abilities,

which last I imagined

that he thoroughly mistook,


for the want

of which,

I myself had so often wept.

I had no conception

that he judged

of me so favorably;


would have strengthened

and relieved me had I known it;


on the contrary,

his perpetual blame depressed me.


of course,

immediately received Collin’s permission,

and removed

to the house

of the rector.

But that,


was an unfortunate house.

, , , , , 

I accompanied him

to Helsing÷r,


of the loveliest places

in Denmark,


to the Sound,

which is

at this place not

above a mile




which seems

like a blue,

swelling river

between Denmark

and Sweden.

The ships

of all nations sail past daily

by hundreds;

in winter the ice forms a firm bridge

between the two countries,

and when

in spring this breaks up,

it resembles a floating glacier.

The scenery here made a lively impression upon me,

but I dared only

to cast stolen glances

at it.

When the school hours were over,

the house door was commonly locked;

I was obliged

to remain

in the heated school-room

and learn my Latin,

or else play

with the children,

or sit

in my little room;

I never went out

to visit anybody.

My life

in this family furnishes the most evil dreams

to my remembrance.

I was

almost overcome

by it,

and my prayer

to God every evening was,

that he

would remove this cup

from me

and let me die.

I possessed not an atom

of confidence

in myself.

I never mentioned

in my letters

how hard it went

with me,

because the rector found his pleasure

in making a jest

of me,

and turning my feelings

to ridicule.

I never complained

of any one,

with the exception

of myself.

I knew

that they

would say

in Copenhagen,

“He has not the desire

to do any thing;

a fanciful being

can do no good

with realities.”

, , , , , 

My letters

to Collin,


at this time,

showed such a gloomy despairing state

of mind,

that they touched him deeply;

but people imagined

that was not

to be helped;

they fancied

that it was my disposition,

and not,

as was the case,

that it was the consequence

of outward influences.

My temper

of mind was thoroughly buoyant,

and susceptible

of every ray

of sunshine;

but only

on one single holiday

in the year,

when I

could go

to Copenhagen,

was I able

to enjoy it.

, , , , , 

What a change it was

to get

for a few days out

of the rector’s rooms

into a house

in Copenhagen,

where all was elegance,




of the comforts

of refined life!

This was

at Admiral Wulff’s,


wife felt

for me the kindness

of a mother,

and whose children met me

with cordiality;

they dwelt

in a portion

of the Castle

of Amalienburg,

and my chamber looked out

into the square.

I remember the first evening


Aladdin’s words passed

through my mind,

when he looked down from

his splendid castle

into the square,

and said,

“Here came I

as a poor


My soul was full

of gratitude.

, , , , , 

 During my whole residence

in Slagelse I had scarcely written more than


or five poems;


of which,

“The Soul,”

and “To my Mother,”

will be found printed

in my collected works.

During my school-time at

Helsing÷r I wrote only one single poem,

“The Dying Child;”

a poem which,

of all my after works,

became most popular

and most widely circulated.


read it

to some acquaintance

in Copenhagen;

some were struck

by it,



of them only remarked my Funen dialect,

which drops the d

in every


I was commended

by many;


from the greater number I received

a lecture

on modesty,


that I

should not get too great ideas of



who really


that time thought nothing

of myself.


How beautifully is all this part

of the author’s experience reflected

in that

of Antonio,

the Improvisatore,

whose highly sensitive nature was

too often wounded

by the well-meant lectures

of patrons

and common-place




At the house

of Admiral Wulff I saw many men

of the most distinguished talent,


among them all my mind paid the greatest homage

to one

--that was the poet Adam Oehlenschl ger.

I heard his praise resound

from every mouth

around me;

I looked up

to him

with the most pious faith:

I was happy

when one evening,

in a large brilliantly-lighted drawing room

--where I deeply felt

that my apparel was the shabbiest there,



that reason I concealed myself

behind the long curtains

--Oehlenschl ger came

to me

and offered me his hand.


could have fallen

before him

on my knees.

I again saw Weyse,

and heard him improvise upon the piano.

Wulff himself read aloud his translations

of Byron;

and Oehlenschl ger’s young daughter Charlotte surprised me

by her joyous,

merry humor.

, , , , , 

From such a house

as this,


after a few days,


to the rector,

and felt the difference deeply.

He also came direct

from Copenhagen,

where he had heard it said

that I had read

in company one

of my own poems.

He looked

at me

with a penetrating glance,

and commanded me

to bring him the poem,


if he found

in it one spark

of poetry,


would forgive me.

I tremblingly brought

to him “The Dying Child;”

he read it,

and pronounced it

to be sentimentality

and idle trash.

He gave way freely

to his anger.

If he had believed

that I wasted my time

in writing verses,


that I was

of a nature

which required a severe treatment,

then his intention

would have been good;

but he

could not pretend this.


from this day forward my situation was more unfortunate

than ever;

I suffered so severely

in my mind

that I was very near sinking

under it.

That was the darkest,

the most unhappy time

in my life.

, , , , , 


then one

of the masters went

to Copenhagen,

and related

to Collin exactly

what I had

to bear,

and immediately he removed me

from the school


from the rector’s house.


in taking leave

of him,

I thanked him

for the kindness

which I had received

from him,

the passionate man cursed me,

and ended

by saying

that I

should never become a student,

that my verses

would grow mouldy

on the floor

of the bookseller’s shop,


that I myself

should end my days

in a mad-house.

I trembled

to my innermost being,

and left him.

, , , , , 

Several years afterwards,

when my writings were read,

when the Improvisatore first came out,

I met him

in Copenhagen;

he offered me his hand

in a conciliatory manner,

and said

that he had erred respecting me,

and had treated me wrong;

but it now was all the same

to me.

The heavy,

dark days had also produced their blessing

in my life.

A young man,

who afterwards became celebrated

in Denmark

for his zeal

in the Northern languages and

in history,

became my teacher.

I hired a little garret;

it is described

in the Fiddler;


in The Picture Book without Pictures,

people may see

that I often received

there visits

from the moon.

I had a certain sum allowed

for my support;


as instruction was

to be paid for,

I had

to make savings

in other ways.

A few families

through the week-days gave me a place

at their tables.

I was a sort

of boarder,

as many another poor student

in Copenhagen is still:

there was a variety

in it;

it gave an insight

into the several kinds

of family life,

which was not without its influence

on me.

I studied industriously;

in some particular branches I had considerably distinguished myself

in Helsing÷r,


in mathematics;

these were,


now much more left

to myself:

everything tended

to assist me

in my Greek

and Latin studies;

in one direction,



that the one


which it

would least have been expected,

did my excellent teacher find much

to do;


in religion.

He closely adhered

to the literal meaning

of the Bible;

with this I was acquainted,


from my first entrance

in the school I had clearly understood

what was said

and taught

by it.

I received gladly,


with feeling

and understanding,

the doctrine,

that God is love:


which opposed this

--a burning hell,


whose fire endured forever


could not recognize.


from the distressing existence

of the school-bench,

I now expressed myself

like a free man;

and my teacher,

who was one

of the noblest

and most amiable

of human beings,


who adhered firmly

to the letter,

was often quite distressed

about me.

We disputed,

whilst pure flames kindled within our hearts.

It was nevertheless good

for me

that I came

to this unspoiled,

highly-gifted young man,

who was possessed

of a nature

as peculiar

as my own.

, , , , , 

That which,

on the contrary,

was an error

in me,


which became very perceptible,

was a pleasure

which I had,


in jesting with,


in playing

with my best feelings,


in regarding the understanding

as the most important thing

in the world.

The rector had completely mistaken my undisguisedly candid

and sensitive character;

my excitable feelings were made ridiculous,

and thrown back upon themselves;

and now,

when I

could freely advance upon the way

to my object,

this change showed itself

in me.

From severe suffering I did not rush

into libertinism,


into an erroneous endeavor

to appear other

than I was.

I ridiculed feeling,

and fancied

that I had quite thrown it aside;

and yet I

could be made wretched

for a whole day,

if I met

with a sour countenance

where I expected a friendly one.

Every poem

which I had formerly written

with tears,

I now parodied,

or gave

to it a ludicrous refrain;



which I called “The Lament

of the Kitten,”


“The Sick Poet.”

The few poems

which I wrote


that time were all

of a humorous character:

a complete change had passed

over me;

the stunted plant was reset,

and now began

to put forth new shoots.

, , , , , 

Wulff’s eldest daughter,

a very clever

and lively girl,


and encouraged the humor,

which made itself evident

in my few poems;

she possessed my entire confidence;

she protected me

like a good sister,

and had great influence

over me,

whilst she awoke

in me a feeling

for the comic.

, , , , , 

At this time,


a fresh current

of life was sent

through the Danish literature;

for this the people had an interest,

and politics played no part

in it.

, , , , , 


who had gained the acknowledged reputation

of a poet

by his excellent works,


and “Walter the Potter,”

had introduced the vaudeville upon the Danish stage;

it was a Danish vaudeville,


of our blood,

and was therefore received

with acclamation,

and supplanted

almost everything else.

Thalia kept carnival

on the Danish stage,

and Heiberg was her secretary.

I made his acquaintance first

at Oersted’s.



and the hero

of the day,

he pleased me

in a high degree;

he was most kind

to me,

and I visited him;

he considered one

of my humorous poems worthy

of a place

in his most excellent weekly paper,

“The Flying Post.”


before I had,

after a deal

of trouble,

got my poem

of “The Dying Child” printed

in a paper;


of the many publishers

of journals,

who otherwise accept

of the most lamentable trash,

had the courage

to print a poem

by a schoolboy.

My best known poem they printed


that time,


by an excuse

for it.

Heiberg saw it,

and gave it

in his paper an honorable place.

Two humorous poems,

signed H.,

were truly my debut

with him.

, , , , , 

I remember the first evening

when the “Flying Post” appeared

with my verses

in it.

I was

with a family

who wished me well,


who regarded my poetical talent

as quite insignificant,


who found something

to censure

in every line.

The master

of the house entered

with the “Flying Post”

in his hand.

, , , , , 

“This evening,”

said he,

“there are two excellent poems:

they are

by Heiberg;

nobody else

could write anything

like them.”

And now my poems were received

with rapture.

The daughter,

who was

in my secret,


in her delight,

that I was the author.

They were all struck

into silence,

and were vexed.

That wounded me deeply.

, , , , , 


of our least esteemed writers,

but a man

of rank,

who was very hospitable,

gave me one day a seat

at his table.

He told me

that a new year’s gift

would come out,


that he was applied


for a contribution.

I said

that a little poem

of mine,

at the wish

of the publisher,

would appear

in the same new year’s gift.

, , , , , 




and anybody are

to contribute

to this book!”

said the man

in vexation:

“then he

will need nothing

from me;

I certainly


hardly give him anything.”

, , , , , 

My teacher dwelt

at a considerable distance

from me.

I went

to him twice each day,


on the way

there my thoughts were occupied

with my lessons.

On my return,


I breathed more freely,


then bright poetical ideas passed

through my brain,

but they were never committed

to paper;

only five

or six humorous poems were written

in the course

of the year,

and these disturbed me less

when they were laid

to rest

on paper than

if they had remained

in my mind.

, , , , , 

In September,


I was a student;


when the examination was over,

the thousand ideas

and thoughts,


which I was pursued

on the way

to my teacher,


like a swarm

of bees out

into the world,



into my first work,

“A Journey

on Foot

to Amack;”

a peculiar,

humorous book,

but one

which fully exhibited my own individual character


that time,

my disposition

to sport

with everything,


to jest

in tears

over my own feelings

--a fantastic,

gaily-colored tapestry-work.

No publisher had the courage

to bring out

that little book;

I therefore ventured

to do it myself,


in a few days after its appearance,

the impression was sold.

Publisher Keitzel bought

from me the second edition;

after a

while he had a third;


besides this,

the work was reprinted

in Sweden.

, , , , , 

Everybody read my book;

I heard nothing

but praise;

I was “a student,”

--I had attained the highest goal

of my wishes.

I was

in a whirl

of joy;


in this state I wrote my first dramatic work,


on the Nicholas Tower,


What says the Pit?”

It was unsuccessful,

because it satirized


which no longer existed amongst us,


the shows

of the middle ages;

besides which,

it rather ridiculed the enthusiasm

for the vaudeville.

The subject

of it was,

in short,

as follows:

--The watchman

of the Nicholas Tower,

who always spoke

as a knight

of the castle,


to give his daughter

to the watchman

of the neighboring church-tower;

but she loved a young tailor,

who had made a journey

to the grave

of Eulenspiegel,

and was just now returned,

as the punch-bowl steamed,

and was

to be emptied

in honor

of the young lady’s consent being given.

The lovers escape together

to the tailor’s herberg,

where dancing

and merriment are going forward.

The watchman,


fetches back his daughter;

but she had lost her senses,

and she assured them

that she never

would recover them,

unless she had her tailor.

The old watchman determines

that Fate

should decide the affair;



who was Fate?

The idea

then comes

into his head

that the public shall be his Pythia,


that the public shall decide whether she

should have the tailor

or the watchman.

They determine,


to send

to one

of the youngest

of the poets,

and beg him

to write the history

in the style

of the vaudeville,

a kind

of writing

which was the most successful


that time,


when the piece was brought upon the stage,

and the public either whistled

or hissed,


should be

in no wise considered

that the work

of the young author had been unsuccessful,


that it

should be the voice

of Fate,

which said,

“She shall marry the watchman.”


on the contrary,

the piece was successful,

it indicated

that she

should have the tailor;

and this last,

remarked the father,

must be said

in prose,

in order

that the public may understand it.

Now every one

of the characters thought himself

on the stage,


in the epilogue the lovers besought the public

for their applause,

whilst the watchman begged them either

to whistle,


at least

to hiss.

, , , , , 

My fellow students received the piece

with acclamation;

they were proud

of me.

I was the second

of their body who

in this year had brought out a piece

on the Danish stage;

the other was Arnesen,


at the same time

with me,

and author

of a vaudeville called “The Intrigue

in the People’s Theatre,”

a piece

which had a great run.

We were the two young authors

of the October examination,


of the sixteen poets

which this year produced,

and whom people

in jest divided

into the four great

and the twelve small poets.

, , , , , 

I was now a happy human being;

I possessed the soul

of a poet,

and the heart

of youth;

all houses began

to be open

to me;

I flew

from circle

to circle.



I devoted myself industriously

to study,

so that

in September,


I passed my Examen philologicum et philosophicum,

and brought out the first collected edition

of my poems,

which met

with great praise.

Life lay bright

with sunshine

before me.

, , , , , 


, , , , , 

Until now I had only seen a small part

of my native land,

that is

to say,

a few points

in Funen

and Zealand,

as well

as Moen’s Klint,

which last is truly one

of our most beautiful places;

the beechwoods

there hang

like a garland

over the white chalk cliffs,


which a view is obtained far

over the Baltic.

I wished,


in the summer

of 1830,

to devote my first literary proceeds

to seeing Jutland,

and making myself more thoroughly acquainted

with my own Funen.

I had no idea

how much solidity

of mind I

should derive

from this summer excursion,


what a change was about

to take place

in my inner life.

, , , , , 


which stretches

between the German Ocean

and the Baltic,

until it ends

at Skagen

in a reef

of quicksands,

possesses a peculiar character.

Towards the Baltic extend immense woods

and hills;

towards the North Sea,


and quicksands,


of a grand

and solitary character;


between the two,

infinite expanses

of brown heath,

with their wandering gipsies,

their wailing birds,

and their deep solitude,

which the Danish poet,

Steen Blicher,

has described

in his novels.

, , , , , 

This was the first foreign scenery

which I had ever seen,

and the impression,


which it made upon me was very strong.


This impressive

and wild scenery,

with its characteristic figures,

of gipsies etc.,

is most exquisitely introduced

into the author’s novel

of “O.


indeed it gives a coloring

and tone

to the whole work,

which the reader never

can forget.

In my opinion Andersen never wrote anything finer

in the way

of description

than many parts

of this work,


as a story it is not equal

to his others.



In the cities,

where my “Journey

on Foot”

and my comic poems were known,

I met

with a good reception.

Funen revealed her rural life

to me;


not far

from my birth-place

of Odense,

I passed several weeks

at the country seat

of the elder Iversen

as a welcome guest.

Poems sprung forth upon paper,


of the comic fewer

and fewer.


which I had so often derided,

would now be avenged.

I arrived,

in the course

of my journey,

at the house

of a rich family

in a small city;

and here suddenly a new world opened

before me,

an immense world,

which yet

could be contained

in four lines,

which I wrote


that time:


 A pair

of dark eyes fixed my sight,

 They were my world,

my home,

my delight,

 The soul beamed

in them,

and childlike peace,

and never

on earth

will their memory cease.

, , , , , 

New plans

of life occupied me.


would give up writing poetry,



could it lead?


would study theology,

and become a preacher;

I had only one thought,


that was she.

But it was self-delusion:

she loved another;

she married him.

It was not

till several years later

that I felt

and acknowledged

that it was best,


for her


for myself,

that things had fallen out

as they were.

She had no idea,


how deep my feeling

for her had been,


what an influence it produced

in me.

She had become the excellent wife

of a good man,

and a happy mother.

God’s blessing rest upon her!

In my “Journey

on Foot,”


in most

of my writings,

satire had been the prevailing characteristic.

This displeased many people,

who thought

that this bent

of mind

could lead

to no good purpose.

The critics now blamed me precisely



which a far deeper feeling had expelled

from my breast.

A new collection

of Poetry,


and Sketches,”

which was published

for the new year,

showed satisfactorily

what my heart suffered.

A paraphrase

of the history

of my own heart appeared

in a serious vaudeville,


and Meeting,”

with this difference only,

that here the love was mutual:

the piece was not presented

on the stage

till five years later.

, , , , , 

Among my young friends

in Copenhagen


that time was Orla Lehmann,

who afterwards rose higher

in popular favor,

on account

of his political efforts

than any man

in Denmark.


of animation,


and undaunted,

his character

of mind was one

which interested me also.

The German language was much studied

at his father’s;

they had received

there Heine’s poems,

and they were very attractive

for young Orla.

He lived

in the country,

in the neighborhood

of the castle

of Fredericksberg.

I went there

to see him,

and he sang

as I came one

of Heine’s verses,



du eviges Meer.”

We read Heine together;

the afternoon

and the evening passed,

and I was obliged

to remain

there all night;

but I had

on this evening made the acquaintance

of a poet,


as it seemed

to me,


from the soul;

he supplanted Hoffman,


as might be seen

by my “Journey

on Foot,”

had formerly had the greatest influence

on me.

In my youth

there were only three authors who

as it were infused themselves

into my blood,

--Walter Scott,


and Heine.

, , , , , 

I betrayed more

and more

in my writings an unhealthy turn

of mind.

I felt an inclination

to seek

for the melancholy

in life,


to linger

on the dark side

of things.

I became sensitive

and thought rather

of the blame

than the praise

which was lavished

on me.

My late school education,

which was forced,

and my impulse

to become an author whilst I was yet a student,

make it evident

that my first work,

the “Journey

on Foot,”

was not without grammatical errors.

Had I only paid some one

to correct the press,

which was a work I was unaccustomed to,

then no charge

of this kind

could have been brought

against me.


on the contrary,

people laughed

at these errors,

and dwelt upon them,


over carelessly that

in the book

which had merit.

I know people

who only read my poems

to find out errors;

they noted down,

for instance,

how often I used the word beautiful,

or some similar word.

A gentleman,

now a clergyman,


that time a writer

of vaudevilles

and a critic,

was not ashamed,

in a company

where I was,

to go

through several

of my poems

in this style;


that a little girl

of six years old,

who heard

with amazement

that he discovered everything

to be wrong,

took the book,

and pointing out the conjunction and,


“There is yet a little word about

which you have not scolded.”

He felt

what a reproof lay

in the remark

of the child;

he looked ashamed

and kissed the little one.

All this wounded me;

but I had,

since my school-days,

become somewhat timid,


that caused me

to take it all quietly:

I was morbidly sensitive,

and I was good-natured

to a fault.

Everybody knew it,

and some were


that account

almost cruel

to me.

Everybody wished

to teach me;

almost everybody said

that I was spoiled

by praise,

and therefore they

would speak the truth

to me.

Thus I heard continually

of my faults,

the real

and the ideal weaknesses.

In the mean time,


my feelings burst forth;


then I said

that I

would become a poet whom they

should see honored.

But this was regarded only

as the crowning mark

of the most unbearable vanity;


from house

to house it was repeated.

I was a good man,

they said,

but one

of the vainest

in existence;



that very time I was often ready wholly

to despair

of my abilities,

and had,


in the darkest days

of my school-life,

a feeling,


if my whole talents were a self-deception.


almost believed so;

but it was more

than I

could bear,

to hear the same thing said,


and jeeringly,

by others;


if I

then uttered a proud,

an inconsiderate word,

it was addressed

to the scourge


which I was smitten;


when those

who smite are those we love,

then do the scourges become scorpions.

, , , , , 

For this reason Collin thought

that I

should make a little journey,

--for instance,

to North Germany,

--in order

to divert my mind

and furnish me

with new ideas.

, , , , , 

In the spring

of 1831,

I left Denmark

for the first time.

I saw L bek

and Hamburg.

Everything astonished me

and occupied my mind.

I saw mountains

for the first time,

--the Harzgebirge.

The world expanded so astonishingly

before me.

My good humor returned

to me,


to the bird

of passage.

Sorrow is the flock

of sparrows

which remains behind,

and builds

in the nests

of the birds

of passage.

But I did not feel myself wholly restored.

, , , , , 

In Dresden I made acquaintance

with Tieck.

Ingemann had given me a letter

to him.

I heard him one evening read aloud one

of Shakspeare’s plays.

On taking leave

of him,

he wished me a poet’s success,


and kissed me;

which made the deepest impression upon me.

The expression

of his eyes I shall never forget.

I left him

with tears,

and prayed most fervently

to God

for strength

to enable me

to pursue the way after

which my whole soul strove



should enable me

to express


which I felt

in my soul;

and that

when I next saw Tieck,

I might be known

and valued

by him.

It was not

until several years afterwards,

when my later works were translated

into German,

and well received

in his country,

that we saw each other again;

I felt the true hand-pressure

of him

who had given

to me,

in my second father-land,

the kiss

of consecration.

, , , , , 

In Berlin,

a letter

of Oersted’s procured me the acquaintance

of Chamisso.

That grave man,

with his long locks

and honest eyes,

opened the door

to me himself,

read the letter,

and I know not

how it was,

but we understood each other immediately.

I felt perfect confidence

in him,

and told him so,

though it was

in bad German.

Chamisso understood Danish;

I gave him my poems,

and he was the first

who translated any

of them,

and thus introduced me

into Germany.

It was thus he spoke

of me


that time

in the Morgenblatt:


with wit,



and a national naivet ,

Andersen has still

in his power tones

which awaken deeper echoes.

He understands,

in particular,


with perfect ease,

by a few slight

but graphic touches,

to call

into existence little pictures

and landscapes,


which are often so peculiarly local

as not

to interest those

who are unfamiliar

with the home

of the poet.



which may be translated

from him,


which is so already,

may be the least calculated

to give a proper idea

of him.”

, , , , , 

Chamisso became a friend

for my whole life.

The pleasure

which he had

in my later writings may be seen

by the printed letters addressed

to me

in the collected edition

of his works.

, , , , , 

The little journey

in Germany had great influence upon me,

as my Copenhagen friends acknowledged.

The impressions

of the journey were immediately written down,

and I gave them forth

under the title

of “Shadow Pictures.”

Whether I were actually improved

or not,

there still prevailed

at home the same petty pleasure

in dragging out my faults,

the same perpetual schooling

of me;

and I was weak enough

to endure it

from those

who were officious meddlers.

I seldom made a joke

of it;


if I did so,

it was called arrogance

and vanity,

and it was asserted

that I never

would listen

to rational people.

Such an instructor once asked me whether I wrote Dog

with a little d;

--he had found such an error

of the press

in my last work.

I replied,



because I here spoke

of a little dog.”

, , , , , 

But these are small troubles,


will say.


but they are drops

which wear hollows

in the rock.

I speak

of it here;

I feel a necessity

to do so;


to protest

against the accusation

of vanity,


since no other error

can be discovered

in my private life,

is seized upon,


even now is thrown

at me

like an old medal.

, , , , , 

From the end

of the year 1828,

to the beginning

of 1839,

I maintained myself alone

by my writings.

Denmark is a small country;

but few books


that time went

to Sweden

and Norway;



that account the profit

could not be great.

It was difficult

for me

to pull through,

--doubly difficult,

because my dress must

in some measure accord

with the circles


which I went.

To produce,

and always

to be producing,

was destructive,



I translated a few pieces

for the theatre,

--La Quarantaine,

and La Reine de seize ans;

and as,


that time,

a young composer

of the name

of Hartmann,

a grandson

of him

who composed the Danish folks-song

of “King Christian stood

by the tall,

tall mast,”


for text

to an opera,

I was

of course ready

to write it.

Through the writings

of Hoffman,

my attention had been turned

to the masked comedies

of Gozzi:

I read Il Corvo,

and finding

that it was an excellent subject,

I wrote,

in a few weeks,

my opera-text

of the Raven.


will sound strange

to the ears

of countrymen

when I say

that I,


that time,

recommended Hartmann;

that I gave my word

for it,

in my letter

to the theatrical directors,

for his being a man

of talent,


would produce something good.

He now takes the first rank

among the living Danish composers.

, , , , , 

I worked up also Walter Scott’s “Bride

of Lammermoor”

for another young composer,


Both operas appeared

on the stage;

but I was subjected

to the most merciless criticism,

as one

who had stultified the labors

of foreign poets.

What people had discovered

to be good

in me

before seemed now

to be forgotten,

and all talent was denied

to me.

The composer Weyse,

my earliest benefactor,

whom I have already mentioned,


on the contrary,


in the highest degree

with my treatment

of these subjects.

He told me

that he had wished

for a long time

to compose an opera

from Walter Scott’s “Kenilworth.”

He now requested me

to commence the joint work,

and write the text.

I had no idea

of the summary justice


would be dealt

to me.

I needed money

to live,


what still more determined me

to it,

I felt flattered

to have

to work

with Weyse our most celebrated composer.

It delighted me

that he,

who had first spoken

in my favor

at Siboni’s house,


as artist,

sought a noble connection

with me.

I had scarcely half finished the text,

when I was already blamed

for having made use

of a well-known romance.

I wished

to give it up;

but Weyse consoled me,

and encouraged me

to proceed.


before he had finished the music,

when I was about

to travel abroad,

I committed my fate,

as regarded the text,


to his hands.

He wrote whole verses

of it,

and the altered conclusion is wholly his own.

It was a peculiarity


that singular man

that he liked no book

which ended sorrowfully.


that reason,

Amy must marry Leicester,

and Elizabeth say,

“Proud England,

I am thine.”

I opposed this

at the beginning;

but afterwards I yielded,

and the piece was really half-created

by Weyse.

It was brought

on the stage,

but was not printed,

with the exception

of the songs.

To this followed anonymous attacks:

the city post brought me letters


which the unknown writers scoffed


and derided me.

That same year I published a new collection

of poetry,

“The Twelve Months

of the Year;”

and this book,

though it was afterwards pronounced

to contain the greater part

of my best lyrical poems,


then condemned

as bad.

, , , , , 


that time “The Monthly Review

of Literature,”

though it is now gone

to its grave,


in its full bloom.

At its first appearance,

it numbered

among its co-workers some

of the most distinguished names.

Its want,


was men

who were qualified

to speak ably

on aesthetic works.


everybody fancies himself able

to give an opinion upon these;

but people may write excellently

on surgery

or pedagogical science,

and may have a name

in those things,

and yet be dolts

in poetry:

of this proofs may be seen.

By degrees it became more

and more difficult

for the critical bench

to find a judge

for poetical works.

The one,



through his extraordinary zeal

for writing

and speaking,

was ready

at hand,

was the historian

and states-councillor Molbeck,

who played,

in our time,

so great a part

in the history

of Danish criticism,

that I must speak

of him rather more fully.

He is an industrious collector,

writes extremely correct Danish,

and his Danish dictionary,

let him be reproached

with whatever want he may,

is a most highly useful work;


as a judge

of aesthetic works,

he is one-sided,


even fanatically devoted

to party spirit.

He belongs,


to the men

of science,

who are only one sixty-fourth

of a poet,


who are the most incompetent judges

of aesthetics.

He has,

for example,

by his critiques

on Ingemann’s romances,


how far he is below the poetry

which he censures.

He has himself published a volume

of poems,

which belong

to the common run

of books,

“A Ramble

through Denmark,”


in the fade,

flowery style

of those times,

and “A Journey

through Germany,


and Italy,”

which seems

to be made up out

of books,

not out

of life.

He sate

in his study,


in the Royal Library,

where he has a post,

when suddenly he became director

of the theatre

and censor

of the pieces sent in.

He was sickly,


in judgment,

and irritable:

people may imagine the result.

He spoke

of my first poems very favorably;

but my star soon sank

for another,

who was

in the ascendant,

a young lyrical poet,

Paludan Muller;


as he no longer loved,

he hated me.

That is the short history;


in the selfsame Monthly Review the very poems

which had formerly been praised were now condemned

by the same judge,

when they appeared

in a new increased edition.

There is a Danish proverb,

“When the carriage drags,

everybody pushes behind;”

and I proved the truth

of it now.

, , , , , 

It happened

that a new star

in Danish literature ascended

at this time.

Heinrich Hertz published his “Letters

from the Dead” anonymously:

it was a mode

of driving all the unclean things out

of the temple.

The deceased Baggesen sent polemical letters

from Paradise,

which resembled

in the highest degree the style


that author.

They contained a sort

of apotheosis

of Heiberg,


in part attacks upon Oehlenschl ger

and Hauch.

The old story

about my orthographical errors was again revived;

my name

and my school-days

in Slagelse were brought

into connection

with St. Anders.

, , , , , 

I was ridiculed,


if people will,

I was chastised.

Hertz’s book went

through all Denmark;

people spoke

of nothing

but him.

It made it still more piquant

that the author

of the work

could not be discovered.

People were enraptured,

and justly.


in his “Flying Post,”

defended a few aesthetical insignificants,

but not me.

I felt the wound

of the sharp knife deeply.

My enemies now regarded me

as entirely shut out

from the world

of spirits.

I however

in a short time published a little book,


to the Danish Poets,”


which I characterized the dead

and the living authors

in a few lines each,

but only spoke



which was good

in them.

The book excited attention;

it was regarded

as one

of the best

of my works;

it was imitated,

but the critics did not meddle

with it.

It was evident,

on this occasion,

as had already been the case,

that the critics never laid hands

on those

of my works

which were the most successful.

, , , , , 

My affairs were now

in their worst condition;

and precisely


that same year


which a stipend

for travelling had been conferred upon Hertz,

I also had presented a petition

for the same purpose.

The universal opinion was

that I had reached the point

of culmination,


if I was

to succeed

in travelling it must be

at this present time.

I felt,

what since

then has become an acknowledged fact,

that travelling

would be the best school

for me.

In the mean time I was told that

to bring it

under consideration I must endeavor

to obtain

from the most distinguished poets

and men

of science a kind

of recommendation;

because this very year

there were so many distinguished young men

who were soliciting a stipend,

that it

would be difficult

among these

to put

in an available claim.

I therefore obtained recommendations

for myself;

and I am,

so far

as I know,

the only Danish poet

who was obliged

to produce recommendations

to prove

that he was a poet.

, , , , , 

And here also it is remarkable,

that the men

who recommended me have each one made prominent some very different qualification

which gave me a claim:

for instance,

Oehlenschl ger,

my lyrical power,

and the earnestness

that was

in me;


my skill

in depicting popular life;

Heiberg declared that,

since the days

of Wessel,

no Danish poet had possessed so much humor

as myself;

Oersted remarked,

every one,


who were

against me

as well

as those

who were

for me,


on one subject,

and this was

that I was a true poet.

Thiele expressed himself warmly

and enthusiastically

about the power

which he had seen

in me,


against the oppression

and the misery

of life.

I received a stipend

for travelling;

Hertz a larger

and I a smaller one:


that also was quite

in the order

of things.

, , , , , 

“Now be happy,”

said my friends,

“make yourself aware

of your unbounded good fortune!

Enjoy the present moment,

as it

will probably be the only time


which you

will get abroad.

You shall hear

what people say

about you

while you are travelling,


how we shall defend you;



we shall not be able

to do that.”

, , , , , 

It was painful

to me

to hear such things said;

I felt a compulsion

of soul

to be away,

that I might,

if possible,

breathe freely;

but sorrow is firmly seated

on the horse

of the rider.


than one sorrow oppressed my heart,


although I opened the chambers

of my heart

to the world,


or two

of them I keep locked,


On setting out

on my journey,

my prayer

to God was

that I might die far away

from Denmark,

or return strengthened

for activity,


in a condition

to produce works


should win

for me

and my beloved ones joy

and honor.

, , , , , 


at the moment

of setting out

on my journey,

the form

of my beloved arose

in my heart.

Among the few whom I have already named,

there are two

who exercised a great influence upon my life

and my poetry,

and these I must more particularly mention.

A beloved mother,

an unusually liberal-minded

and well educated lady,

Madame L ss c,

had introduced me

into her agreeable circle

of friends;

she often felt the deepest sympathy

with me

in my troubles;

she always turned my attention

to the beautiful

in nature

and the poetical

in the details

of life,



almost everyone regarded me

as a poet,

she elevated my mind;




there be tenderness

and purity

in anything

which I have written,

they are

among those things


which I have especially

to be thankful

to her.

Another character

of great importance

to me was Collin’s son Edward.

Brought up

under fortunate circumstances

of life,

he was possessed


that courage

and determination

which I wanted.

I felt

that he sincerely loved me,

and I full

of affection,

threw myself upon him

with my whole soul;

he passed

on calmly

and practically

through the business

of life.

I often mistook him

at the very moment

when he felt

for me most deeply,


when he

would gladly have infused

into me a portion

of his own character,

--to me

who was

as a reed shaken

by the wind.

In the practical part

of life,


the younger,

stood actively

by my side,

from the assistance

which he gave

in my Latin exercises,

to the arranging the business

of bringing out editions

of my works.

He has always remained the same;

and were I

to enumerate my friends,


would be placed

by me

as the first

on the list.

When the traveller leaves the mountains

behind him,


for the first time he sees them

in their true form:

so is it also

with friends.

, , , , , 

I arrived

at Paris

by way

of Cassel

and the Rhine.

I retained a vivid impression

of all

that I saw.

The idea

for a poem fixed itself firmer

and firmer

in my mind;

and I hoped,

as it became more clearly worked out,

to propitiate

by it my enemies.

There is an old Danish folks-song

of Agnete

and the Merman,

which bore an affinity

to my own state

of mind,


to the treatment


which I felt an inward impulse.

The song tells

that Agnete wandered solitarily

along the shore,

when a merman rose up

from the waves

and decoyed her

by his speeches.

She followed him

to the bottom

of the sea,


there seven years,

and bore him seven children.

One day,

as she sat

by the cradle,

she heard the church bells sounding down

to her

in the depths

of the sea,

and a longing seized her heart

to go

to church.

By her prayers

and tears she induced the merman

to conduct her

to the upper world again,

promising soon

to return.

He prayed her not

to forget his children,

more especially the little one

in the cradle;

stopped up her ears

and her mouth,


then led her upwards

to the sea-shore.



she entered the church,

all the holy images,

as soon

as they saw her,

a daughter

of sin


from the depths

of the sea,

turned themselves round

to the walls.

She was affrighted,


would not return,

although the little ones

in her home below were weeping.

, , , , , 

I treated this subject freely,

in a lyrical

and dramatic manner.


will venture

to say

that the whole grew out

of my heart;

all the recollections

of our beechwoods

and the open sea were blended

in it.

, , , , , 

In the midst

of the excitement

of Paris I lived

in the spirit

of the Danish folks-songs.

The most heartfelt gratitude

to God filled my soul,

because I felt

that all

which I had,

I had received

through his mercy;


at the same time I took a lively interest

in all

that surrounded me.

I was present

at one

of the July festivals,

in their first freshness;

it was

in the year 1833.

I saw the unveiling

of Napoleon’s pillar.

I gazed

on the world-experienced King Louis Philippe,

who is evidently defended

by Providence.

I saw the Duke

of Orleans,


of health

and the enjoyment

of life,


at the gay people’s ball,

in the gay Maison de Ville.

Accident led

in Paris

to my first meeting

with Heine,

the poet,



that time occupied the throne

in my poetical world.

When I told him

how happy this meeting

and his kind words made me,

he said

that this

could not very well be the case,

else I

should have sought him out.

I replied,

that I had not done so precisely

because I estimated him so highly.


should have feared

that he might have thought it ridiculous

in me,

an unknown Danish poet,

to seek him out;


added I,

“your sarcastic smile

would deeply have wounded me.”

In reply,

he said something friendly.

, , , , , 

Several years afterwards,

when we again met

in Paris,

he gave me a cordial reception,

and I had a view

into the brightly poetical portion

of his soul.

, , , , , 

Paul D port met me

with equal kindness.

Victor Hugo also received me.

, , , , , 

 During my journey

to Paris,

and the whole month

that I spent there,


heard not a single word

from home.

Could my friends perhaps have nothing


to tell me?

At length,


a letter arrived;

a large


which cost a large sum

in postage.

My heart beat

with joy and

yearning impatience;

it was,


my first letter.

I opened it,


I discovered not a single written word,


but a Copenhagen


containing a lampoon upon me,


that was sent

to me all

that distance

with postage unpaid,


by the anonymous writer


This abominable malice wounded me deeply.

I have never


who the author was,

perhaps he was one

of those who

afterwards called me friend,

and pressed my hand.

Some men have base


I also have mine.

, , , , , 

It is a weakness

of my country-people,

that commonly,

when abroad,

during their residence

in large cities,


almost live exclusively

in company together;

they must dine together,


at the theatre,

and see all the lions

of the place

in company.

Letters are read

by each other;


of home is received

and talked over,


at last they

hardly know whether they are

in a foreign land

or their own.

I had given way

to the same weakness

in Paris;


in leaving it,



for one month

to board myself

in some quiet place

in Switzerland,

and live only

among the French,

so as

to be compelled

to speak their language,

which was necessary

to me

in the highest degree.

, , , , , 

In the little city

of Lodi,

in a valley

of the Jura mountains,

where the snow fell

in August,

and the clouds floated below us,

was I received

by the amiable family

of a wealthy watchmaker.


would not hear a word

about payment.

I lived

among them

and their friends

as a relation,


when we parted the children wept.

We had become friends,

although I

could not understand their patois;

they shouted loudly

into my ear,

because they fancied I must be deaf,

as I

could not understand them.

In the evenings,


that elevated region,

there was a repose

and a stillness

in nature,

and the sound

of the evening bells ascended

to us

from the French frontier.

At some distance

from the city,

stood a solitary house,

painted white

and clean;

on descending

through two cellars,

the noise

of a millwheel was heard,

and the rushing waters

of a river

which flowed

on here,


from the world.

I often visited this place

in my solitary rambles,

and here I finished my poem

of “Agnete

and the Merman,”

which I had begun

in Paris.

, , , , , 

I sent home this poem

from Lodi;

and never,

with my earlier

or my later works,

were my hopes so high

as they were now.

But it was received coldly.

People said I had done it

in imitation

of Oehlenschl ger,


at one time sent home masterpieces.

Within the last few years,

I fancy,

this poem has been somewhat more read,

and has met

with its friends.

It was,


a step forwards,

and it decided,

as it were,


to me,

my pure lyrical phasis.

It has been also

of late critically adjudged

in Denmark,


notwithstanding that

on its first appearance it excited far less attention

than some

of my earlier

and less successful works,

still that

in this the poetry is

of a deeper,


and more powerful character

than anything

which I had hitherto produced.

, , , , , 

This poem closes one portion

of my life.

, , , , , 


On the 5th

of September,


I crossed the Simplon

on my way

to Italy.

On the very day,

on which,

fourteen years before,

I had arrived poor

and helpless

in Copenhagen,

did I set foot

in this country

of my longing and

of my poetical happiness.

It happened

in this case,

as it often does,

by accident,

without any arrangement

on my part,


if I had preordained lucky days

in the year;

yet good fortune has so frequently been

with me,

that I perhaps only remind myself

of its visits

on my own self-elected days.

, , , , , 

All was sunshine

--all was spring!

The vine hung

in long trails

from tree

to tree;


since have I seen Italy so beautiful.

I sailed

on Lago Maggiore;

ascended the cathedral

of Milan;

passed several days

in Genoa,

and made

from thence a journey,


in the beauties

of nature,

along the shore

to Carrara.

I had seen statues

in Paris,

but my eyes were closed

to them;

in Florence,

before the Venus de Medici,

it was

for the first time


if scales fell

from my eyes;

a new world

of art disclosed itself

before me;

that was the first fruit

of my journey.

Here it was

that I first learned

to understand the beauty

of form

--the spirit

which reveals itself

in form.

The life

of the people


--all was new

to me;

and yet

as strangely familiar


if I were come

to a home

where I had lived

in my childhood.

With a peculiar rapidity did I seize upon everything,

and entered

into its life,

whilst a deep northern melancholy

--it was not home-sickness,

but a heavy,

unhappy feeling

--filled my breast.

I received the news

in Rome,


how little the poem

of Agnete,

which I had sent home,

was thought

of there;

the next letter

in Rome brought me the news

that my mother was dead.

I was now quite alone

in the world.

, , , , , 

It was

at this time,


in Rome,

that my first meeting

with Hertz took place.

In a letter

which I had received

from Collin,

he had said

that it

would give him pleasure

to hear

that Hertz

and I had become friends;


even without this wish it

would have happened,

for Hertz kindly offered me his hand,

and expressed sympathy

with my sorrow.

He had,

of all those

with whom I was


that time acquainted,

the most variously cultivated mind.

We had often disputations together,


about the attacks

which had been made upon me

at home

as a poet.


who had himself given me a wound,

said the following words,

which deeply impressed themselves

on my memory:

“Your misfortune is,

that you have been obliged

to print everything;

the public has been able

to follow you step

by step.

I believe

that even,

a Goethe himself must have suffered the same fate,

had he been

in your situation.”


then he praised my talent

for seizing upon the characteristics

of nature,

and giving,

by a few intuitive sketches,


of familiar life.

My intercourse

with him was very instructive

to me,

and I felt

that I had one merciful judge more.

I travelled

in company

with him

to Naples,

where we dwelt together

in one house.

, , , , , 

In Rome I also became first acquainted

with Thorwaldsen.

Many years before,

when I had not long been

in Copenhagen,

and was walking

through the streets

as a poor boy,

Thorwaldsen was

there too:

that was

on his first return home.

We met one another

in the street.

I knew

that he was a distinguished man

in art;

I looked

at him,

I bowed;

he went on,

and then,

suddenly turning round,

came back

to me,

and said,

“Where have I seen you before?

I think we know one another.”

I replied,


we do not know one another

at all.”

I now related this story

to him

in Rome;

he smiled,

pressed my hand,

and said,

“Yet we felt


that time

that we

should become good friends.”

I read Agnete

to him;



which delighted me

in his judgment upon it was the assertion,

“It is just,”

said he,


if I were walking

at home

in the woods,

and heard the Danish lakes;”


then he kissed me.

, , , , , 

One day,

when he saw

how distressed I was,

and I related

to him

about the pasquinade

which I had received

from home

in Paris,

he gnashed his teeth violently,

and said,

in momentary anger,



I know the people;


would not have gone any better

with me

if I had remained there;


should then,



even have obtained permission

to set up a model.

Thank God

that I did not need them,


then they know how

to torment and

to annoy.”

He desired me

to keep up a good heart,


then things

could not fail

of going well;



that he told me

of some dark passages

in his own life,

where he


like manner had been mortified

and unjustly condemned.

, , , , , 

After the Carnival,

I left Rome

for Naples;


at Capri the blue Grotto,

which was


that time first discovered;

visited the temple

at Paestum,

and returned

in the Easter week

to Rome,

from whence I went

through Florence

and Venice

to Vienna

and Munich;

but I had


that time neither mind nor heart

for Germany;


when I thought

on Denmark,

I felt fear

and distress

of mind

about the bad reception

which I expected

to find there.


with its scenery

and its people’s life,

occupied my soul,


towards this land I felt a yearning.

My earlier life,


what I had now seen,

blended themselves together

into an image

--into poetry,

which I was compelled

to write down,

although I was convinced

that it

would occasion me more trouble

than joy,

if my necessities

at home

should oblige me

to print it.

I had written already

in Rome the first chapter.

It was my novel

of “The Improvisatore.”

, , , , , 

At one

of my first visits

to the theatre

at Odense,

as a little boy,


as I have already mentioned,

the representations were given

in the German language,

I saw the Donauweibchen,

and the public applauded the actress

of the principal part.

Homage was paid

to her,

and she was honored;

and I vividly remember thinking

how happy she must be.

, , , , , 

Many years afterwards,


as a student,

I visited Odense,

I saw,

in one

of the chambers

of the hospital

where the poor widows lived


where one bed stood

by another,

a female portrait hanging

over one bed

in a gilt frame.

It was Lessing’s Emilia Galotti,

and represented her

as pulling the rose

to pieces;

but the picture was a portrait.

It appeared singular

in contrast

with the poverty


which it was surrounded.

, , , , , 

“Whom does it represent?”

asked I. “Oh!”

said one

of the old women,

“it is the face

of the German lady,

the poor lady

who once was an actress!”


then I saw a little delicate woman,

whose face was covered

with wrinkles,


in an old silk gown

that once had been black.

That was the once celebrated Singer,


as the Donauweibchen,

had been applauded

by every one.

This circumstance made an indelible impression upon me,

and often occurred

to my mind.

, , , , , 

In Naples I heard Malibran

for the first time.

Her singing

and acting surpassed anything

which I had hitherto either heard

or seen;

and yet I thought the while

of the miserably poor singer

in the hospital

of Odense:

the two figures blended

into the Annunciata

of the novel.

Italy was the back ground



which had been experienced



which was imagined.

In August

of 1834 I returned

to Denmark.

I wrote the first part

of the book

at Ingemann’s,

in Sor÷,

in a little chamber

in the roof,

among fragrant lime-trees.

I finished it

in Copenhagen.

, , , , , 

At this time my best friends,



almost given me up

as a poet;

they said

that they had erred

with regard

to my talents.

It was

with difficulty

that I found a publisher

for the book.

I received a miserable sum

of money

for it,

and the “Improvisatore” made its appearance;

was read,

sold out,

and again published.

The critics were silent;

the newspapers said nothing;

but I heard all

around me

of the interest

which was felt

for the work,

and the delight

that it occasioned.

At length the poet Carl Bagger,

who was


that time the editor

of a newspaper,

wrote the first critique upon it,

and began ironically,

with the customary tirade

against me

--”that it was all over

with this author,

who had already passed his heyday;”

--in short,

he went the whole length

of the tobacco

and tea criticism,

in order suddenly

to dash out,


to express his extremely warm enthusiasm

for me;

and my book.

People now laughed

at me,

but I wept.

This was my mood

of mind.

I wept freely,

and felt gratitude

to God

and man.

, , , , , 

“To the Conference Councillor Collin and

to his noble wife,

in whom I found parents,

whose children were brethren

and sisters

to me,

whose house was my home,

do I here present the best


which I am possessed.”

--So ran the dedication.


who formerly had been my enemy,

now changed their opinion;


among these one became my friend,


I hope,

will remain so

through the whole

of my life.

That was Hauch the poet,


of the noblest characters

with whom I am acquainted.

He had returned home

from Italy after a residence

of several years abroad,


at the time

when Heiberg’s vaudevilles were intoxicating the inhabitants

of Copenhagen,


when my “Journey

on Foot” was making me a little known.

He commenced a controversy

with Heiberg,

and somewhat scoffed

at me.

Nobody called his attention

to my better lyrical writings;

I was described

to him

as a spoiled,

petulant child

of fortune.

He now read my Improvisatore,

and feeling


there was something good

in me,

his noble character evinced itself

by his writing a cordial letter

to me,


which he said,

that he had done me an injustice,

and offered me now the hand

of reconciliation.


that time we became friends.

He used his influence

for me

with the utmost zeal,

and has watched my onward career

with heartfelt friendship.

But so little able have many people been

to understand

what is excellent

in him,

or the noble connection

of heart

between us two,

that not long since,

when he wrote a novel,

and drew

in it the caricature

of a poet,

whose vanity ended

in insanity,

the people

in Denmark discovered

that he had treated me

with the greatest injustice,

because he had described

in it my weakness.

People must not believe

that this was the assertion

of one single person,

or a misapprehension

of my character;


and Hauch felt himself compelled

to write a treatise upon me

as a poet,

that he might show

what a different place he assigned

to me.

, , , , , 


to return

to the “Improvisatore.”

This book raised my sunken fortunes;

collected my friends again

around me,


even obtained

for me new ones.

For the first time I felt

that I had obtained a due acknowledgment.

The book was translated

into German

by Kruse,

with a long title,

“Jugendleben und Tr ume eines italienischen Dichter’s.”

I objected

to the title;

but he declared

that it was necessary

in order

to attract attention

to the book.

, , , , , 

Bagger had,

as already stated,

been the first

to pass judgment

on the work;

after an interval

of some time a second critique made its appearance,

more courteous,

it is true,

than I was accustomed to,

but still passing lightly

over the best things

in the book

and dwelling

on its deficiencies,


on the number

of incorrectly written Italian words.


as Nicolai’s well-known book,


as it really is,”

came out just then,

people universally said,

“Now we shall be able

to see

what it is about

which Andersen has written,


from Nicolai a true idea

of Italy may be obtained

for the first time.”

, , , , , 

It was

from Germany

that resounded the first decided acknowledgment

of the merits

of my work,

or rather perhaps its

over estimation.

I bow myself

in joyful gratitude,

like a sick man

toward the sunshine,

when my heart is grateful.

I am not,

as the Danish Monthly Review,

in its critique

of the “Improvisatore,”


to assert,

an unthankful man,

who exhibits

in his work a want

of gratitude

towards his benefactors.

I was indeed myself poor Antonio

who sighed

under the burden

which I had

to bear,


the poor lad

who ate the bread

of charity.

From Sweden also,


resounded my praise,

and the Swedish newspapers contained articles

in praise

of this work,

which within the last two years has been equally warmly received

in England,

where Mary Howitt,

the poetess,

has translated it

into English;

the same good fortune also is said

to have attended the book

in Holland

and Russia.

Everywhere abroad resounded the loudest acknowledgments

of its excellence.

, , , , , 

There exists

in the public a power

which is stronger

than all the critics

and cliques.

I felt

that I stood

at home

on firmer ground,

and my spirit again had moments


which it raised its wings

for flight.

In this alternation

of feeling

between gaiety

and ill humor,

I wrote my next novel,



which is regarded

by many persons

in Denmark

as my best work;

--an estimation

which I cannot myself award

to it.

It contains characteristic features

of town life.

My first Tales appeared

before “O.


but this is not the place

in which

to speak

of them.

I felt just

at this time a strong mental impulse

to write,

and I believed

that I had found my true element

in novel-writing.

In the following year,


I published “Only a Fiddler,”

a book which

on my part had been deeply pondered over,

and the details


which sprang fresh

to the paper.

My design was

to show

that talent is not genius,

and that

if the sunshine

of good fortune be withheld,

this must go

to the ground,

though without losing its nobler,

better nature.

This book likewise had its partisans;

but still the critics

would not vouchsafe

to me any encouragement;

they forgot that

with years the boy becomes a man,


that people may acquire knowledge

in other

than the ordinary ways.


could not separate themselves

from their old preconceived opinions.

Whilst “O.


was going

through the press it was submitted sheet

by sheet

to a professor

of the university,

who had himself offered

to undertake this work,


by two other able men also;

notwithstanding all this,

the Reviews said,

“We find the usual grammatical negligence,

which we always find

in Andersen,

in this work also.”


which contributed likewise

to place this book

in the shade was the circumstance

of Heiberg having


that time published his Every-day Stories,

which were written

in excellent language,


with good taste

and truth.

Their own merits,

and the recommendation

of their being Heiberg’s,

who was the beaming star

of literature,

placed them

in the highest rank.

, , , , , 

I had however advanced so far,


there no longer existed any doubt as

to my poetical ability,

which people had wholly denied

to me

before my journey

to Italy.

Still not a single Danish critic had spoken

of the characteristics

which are peculiar

to my novels.

It was not

until my works appeared

in Swedish

that this was done,


then several Swedish journals went profoundly

into the subject

and analyzed my works

with good

and honorable intentions.

The case was the same

in Germany;


from this country too my heart was strengthened

to proceed.

It was not

until last year that

in Denmark,

a man

of influence,

Hauch the poet,


of the novels

in his already mentioned treatise,


with a few touches brought their characteristics prominently forward.

, , , , , 

“The principal thing,”

says he,

“in Andersen’s best

and most elaborate works,

in those

which are distinguished

for the richest fancy,

the deepest feeling,

the most lively poetic spirit,


of talent,


at least

of a noble nature,


will struggle its way out

of narrow

and depressing circumstances.

This is the case

with his three novels,


with this purpose

in view,

it is really an important state

of existence

which he describes,

--an inner world,

which no one understands better

than he,

who has himself,

drained out

of the bitter cup

of suffering

and renunciation,


and deep feelings

which are closely related

to those

of his own experience,



which Memory,



to the old significant myth,

is the mother

of the Muses,

met him hand

in hand

with them.


which he,

in these his works,


to the world,

deserves assuredly

to be listened


with attention;


at the same time

that it may be only the most secret inward life

of the individual,

yet it is also the common lot

of men

of talent

and genius,

at least

when these are

in needy circumstances,

as is the case

of those

who are here placed

before our eyes.

In so far as

in his ‘Improvisatore,’

in ‘O.



in ‘Only a Fiddler,’

he represents not only himself,

in his own separate individuality,


at the same time the momentous combat

which so many have

to pass through,


which he understands so well,


in it his own life has developed itself;


in no instance

can he be said

to present

to the reader

what belongs

to the world

of illusion,

but only


which bears witness

to truth,

and which,

as is the case

with all such testimony,

has a universal

and enduring worth.

, , , , , 

“And still more

than this,

Andersen is not only the defender

of talent

and genius,


at the same time,

of every human heart

which is unkindly

and unjustly treated.

And whilst he himself has so painfully suffered


that deep combat


which the Laocoon-snakes seize upon the outstretched hand;

whilst he himself has been compelled

to drink from

that wormwood-steeped bowl

which the cold-blooded

and arrogant world so constantly offers

to those

who are

in depressed circumstances,

he is fully capable

of giving

to his delineations

in this respect a truth

and an earnestness,


even a tragic

and a pain-awakening pathos

that rarely fails

of producing its effect

on the sympathizing human heart.


can read

that scene

in his ‘Only a Fiddler,’


which the ‘high-bred hound,’

as the poet expresses it,

‘turned away

with disgust

from the broken victuals

which the poor youth received

as alms,

without recognizing,

at the same time,

that this is no game


which vanity seeks

for a triumph,


that it expresses much more

--human nature wounded

to its inmost depths,

which here speaks out its sufferings.’”

Thus is it spoken

in Denmark

of my works,

after an interval

of nine

or ten years;

thus speaks the voice

of a noble,

venerated man.

It is

with me

and the critics

as it is

with wine,

--the more years pass

before it is drunk the better is its flavor.

, , , , , 

During the year


which “The Fiddler” came out,

I visited

for the first time the neighboring country

of Sweden.

I went

by the G÷ta canal

to Stockholm.


that time nobody understood

what is now called Scandinavian sympathies;

there still existed a sort

of mistrust inherited

from the old wars

between the two neighbor nations.

Little was known

of Swedish literature,


there were only very few Danes


could easily read

and understand the Swedish language;

--people scarcely knew Tegn r’s Frithiof

and Axel,


through translations.

I had,


read a few other Swedish authors,

and the deceased,

unfortunate Stagnelius pleased me more

as a poet

than Tegn r,

who represented poetry

in Sweden.


who hitherto had only travelled

into Germany

and southern countries,


by this means,

the departure

from Copenhagen was also the departure

from my mother tongue,


in this respect,


at home

in Sweden:

the languages are so much akin,


of two persons each might read

in the language

of his own country,

and yet the other understand him.

It seemed

to me,

as a Dane,

that Denmark expanded itself;


with the people exhibited itself,

in many ways,


and more;

and I felt,


how near akin are Swedes,


and Norwegians.

, , , , , 

I met

with cordial,

kind people,


with these I easily made acquaintance.

I reckon this journey

among the happiest I ever made.

I had no knowledge

of the character

of Swedish scenery,

and therefore I was

in the highest degree astonished

by the Trollh tta-voyage,


by the extremely picturesque situation

of Stockholm.

It sounds

to the uninitiated half

like a fairy-tale,

when one says

that the steam-boat goes up

across the lakes

over the mountains,

from whence may be seen the outstretched pine

and beechwoods below.

Immense sluices heave up

and lower the vessel again,

whilst the travellers ramble

through the woods.


of the cascades

of Switzerland,


in Italy,


even that

of Terni,


in them anything so imposing

as that

of Trollh tta.

Such is the impression,

at all events,

which it made

on me.

, , , , , 

On this journey,


at this last-mentioned place,

commenced a very interesting acquaintance,

and one

which has not been without its influence

on me,

--an acquaintance

with the Swedish authoress,

Fredrika Bremer.

I had just been speaking

with the captain

of the steam-boat

and some

of the passengers

about the Swedish authors living

in Stockholm,

and I mentioned my desire

to see

and converse

with Miss Bremer.

, , , , , 


will not meet

with her,”

said the Captain,

“as she is

at this moment

on a visit

in Norway.”

, , , , , 


will be coming back

while I am there,”

said I

in joke;

“I always am lucky

in my journeys,



which I most wish

for is always accomplished.

, , , , , 

“Hardly this time,


said the captain.

, , , , , 

A few hours after this he came up

to me laughing,

with the list

of the newly arrived passengers

in his hand.

“Lucky fellow,”

said he aloud,

“you take good fortune

with you;

Miss Bremer is here,

and sails

with us

to Stockholm.”

, , , , , 

I received it

as a joke;

he showed me the list,

but still I was uncertain.

Among the new arrivals,


could see no one

who resembled an authoress.

Evening came on,


about midnight we were

on the great Wener lake.

At sunrise I wished

to have a view

of this extensive lake,

the shores



could scarcely be seen;


for this purpose I left the cabin.

At the very moment

that I did so,

another passenger was also doing the same,

a lady neither young nor old,


in a shawl

and cloak.

I thought

to myself,

if Miss Bremer is

on board,

this must be she,

and fell

into discourse

with her;

she replied politely,

but still distantly,


would she directly answer my question,

whether she was the authoress

of the celebrated novels.

She asked after my name;

was acquainted

with it,

but confessed

that she had read none

of my works.


then inquired whether I had not some

of them

with me,

and I lent her a copy

of the “Improvisatore,”

which I had destined

for Beskow.

She vanished immediately

with the volumes,

and was not again visible all morning.

, , , , , 

When I again saw her,

her countenance was beaming,

and she was full

of cordiality;

she pressed my hand,

and said

that she had read the greater part

of the first volume,


that she now knew me.

, , , , , 

The vessel flew

with us

across the mountains,

through quiet inland lakes

and forests,

till it arrived

at the Baltic Sea,

where islands lie scattered,


in the Archipelago,


where the most remarkable transition takes place

from naked cliffs

to grassy islands,


to those


which stand trees

and houses.


and breakers make it here necessary

to take

on board a skilful pilot;


there are indeed some places

where every passenger must sit quietly

on his seat,

whilst the eye

of the pilot is riveted upon one point.

On shipboard one feels the mighty power

of nature,


at one moment seizes hold

of the vessel

and the next lets it go again.

, , , , , 

Miss Bremer related many legends

and many histories,

which were connected

with this


that island,

or those farm-premises up aloft

on the mainland.

, , , , , 

In Stockholm,

the acquaintance

with her increased,

and year after year the letters

which have passed

between us have strengthened it.

She is a noble woman;

the great truths

of religion,

and the poetry

which lies

in the quiet circumstances

of life,

have penetrated her being.

, , , , , 

It was not

until after my visit

to Stockholm

that her Swedish translation

of my novel came out;

my lyrical poems only,

and my “Journey

on Foot,”

were known

to a few authors;

these received me

with the utmost kindness,

and the lately deceased Dahlgr n,

well known

by his humorous poems,

wrote a song

in my honor

--in short,

I met

with hospitality,

and countenances beaming

with Sunday gladness.


and its inhabitants became dear

to me.

The city itself,

by its situation

and its whole picturesque appearance,


to me

to emulate Naples.

Of course,

this last has the advantage

of fine atmosphere,

and the sunshine

of the south;

but the view

of Stockholm is just

as imposing;

it has also some resemblance

to Constantinople,

as seen

from Pera,


that the minarets are wanting.

There prevails a great variety

of coloring

in the capital

of Sweden;

white painted buildings;

frame-work houses,

with the wood-work painted red;


of turf,

with flowering plants;

fir tree

and birches look out


among the houses,

and the churches

with their balls

and towers.

The streets

in S÷dermalm ascend

by flights

of wooden steps up

from the M lar lake,

which is all active

with smoking steam-vessels,


with boats rowed

by women

in gay-colored dresses.

, , , , , 

I had brought

with me a letter

of introduction

from Oersted,

to the celebrated Berzelius,

who gave me a good reception

in the old city

of Upsala.

From this place I returned

to Stockholm.



and people,

were all dear

to me;

it seemed

to me,

as I said before,

that the boundaries

of my native land had stretched themselves out,

and I now first felt the kindredship

of the three peoples,


in this feeling I wrote a Scandinavian song,

a hymn

of praise

for all the three nations,



which was peculiar

and best

in each one

of them.

, , , , , 


can see

that the Swedes made a deal

of him,”

was the first remark

which I heard

at home

on this song.

, , , , , 

Years pass on;

the neighbors understand each other better;



Fredrika Bremer,

and Tegn r,

caused them mutually

to read each

other’s authors,

and the foolish remains

of the old enmity,

which had no

other foundation than

that they did not know each other,


, , , , , 

There now prevails a beautiful,

cordial relationship

between Sweden and


A Scandinavian club has been established

in Stockholm;


with this my song came

to honor;

and it was

then said,


will outlive


that Andersen has written:”

which was

as unjust


when they


that it was only the product

of flattered vanity.

This song is now


in Sweden

as well as

in Denmark.

, , , , , 

on my return home I began

to study history industriously,

and made

myself still further acquainted

with the literature

of foreign


Yet still the volume

which afforded me the greatest pleasure

was that

of nature;


in a summer residence

among the country-seats of


and more especially

at Lykkesholm,

with its highly romantic


in the midst

of woods,


at the noble seat

of Glorup,

from whose

possessor I met

with the most friendly reception,

did I acquire more

true wisdom,


in my solitary rambles,

than I ever

could have


from the schools.

, , , , , 

The house

of the Conference Councillor Collin

in Copenhagen was


that time,

as it has been since,

a second father’s house

to me,


there I had parents,

and brothers

and sisters.

The best circles

of social life were open

to me,

and the student life interested me:

here I mixed

in the pleasures

of youth.

The student life

of Copenhagen is,

besides this,


from that

of the German cities,

and was

at this time peculiar

and full

of life.

For me this was most perceptible

in the students’ clubs,

where students

and professors were accustomed

to meet each other:

there was

there no boundary drawn

between the youthful

and elder men

of letters.

In this club were

to be found the journals

and books

of various countries;

once a week an author

would read his last work;

a concert

or some peculiar burlesque entertainment

would take place.

It was here


what may be called the first Danish people’scomedies took their origin,



which the events

of the day were worked up always

in an innocent,

but witty

and amusing manner.

Sometimes dramatic representations were given

in the presence

of ladies

for the furtherance

of some noble purpose,

as lately

to assist Thorwaldsen’s Museum,

to raise funds

for the execution

of Bissen’s statue

in marble,


for similar ends.

The professors

and students were the actors.

I also appeared several times

as an actor,

and convinced myself

that my terror

at appearing

on the stage was greater

than the talent

which I perhaps possessed.

Besides this,

I wrote

and arranged several pieces,

and thus gave my assistance.

Several scenes

from this time,

the scenes

in the students’ club,

I have worked up

in my romance

of “O.


The humor

and love

of life observable

in various passages

of this book,


in the little dramatic pieces written

about this time,

are owing

to the influence

of the family

of Collin,

where much good was done me


that respect,


that my morbid turn

of mind was unable

to gain the mastery

of me.

Collin’s eldest married daughter,


exercised great influence

over me,

by her merry humor

and wit.

When the mind is yielding

and elastic,

like the expanse

of ocean,

it readily,

like the ocean,

mirrors its environments.

, , , , , 

My writings,

in my own country,

were now classed

among those

which were always bought

and read;


for each fresh work I received a higher payment.



when you consider

what a circumscribed world the Danish reading world is,


will see

that this payment

could not be the most liberal.

Yet I had

to live.


who is one

of the men

who do more

than they promise,

was my help,

my consolation,

my support.

, , , , , 

At this time the late Count Conrad von Rantzau-Breitenburg,

a native

of Holstein,

was Prime Minister

in Denmark.

He was

of a noble,

amiable nature,

a highly educated man,

and possessed

of a truly chivalrous disposition.

He carefully observed the movements

in German

and Danish literature.

In his youth he had travelled much,

and spent a long time

in Spain

and Italy,

He read my “Improvisatore”

in the original;

his imagination was powerfully seized

by it,

and he spoke both

at court and

in his own private circles

of my book

in the warmest manner.

He did not stop here;

he sought me out,

and became my benefactor

and friend.

One forenoon,

whilst I was sitting solitarily

in my little chamber,

this friendly man stood

before me

for the first time.

He belonged


that class

of men

who immediately inspire you

with confidence;

he besought me

to visit him,

and frankly asked me whether

there were no means


which he

could be

of use

to me.

I hinted

how oppressive it was

to be forced

to write

in order

to live,


to be forced

to think

of the morrow,

and not move free

from care,

to be able

to develop your mind

and thoughts.

He pressed my hand

in a friendly manner,

and promised

to be an efficient friend.


and Oersted secretly associated themselves

with him,

and became my intercessors.

, , , , , 


for many years

there had existed,

under Frederick VI.,

an institution

which does the highest honor

to the Danish government,


that beside the considerable sum expended yearly,

for the travelling expenses

of young literary men

and artists,

a small pension shall be awarded

to such

of them

as enjoy no office emoluments.

All our most important poets have had a share

of this assistance,

--Oehlenschl ger,



C. Winther,

and others.

Hertz had just

then received such a pension,

and his future life made thus the more secure.

It was my hope

and my wish

that the same good fortune might be mine

--and it was.

Frederick VI.

granted me two hundred rix dollars banco yearly.

I was filled

with gratitude

and joy.

I was nolonger forced

to write

in order

to live;

I had a sure support

in the possible event

of sickness.

I was less dependent upon the people

about me.

A new chapter

of my life began.

, , , , , 


, , , , , 

From this day forward,

it was


if a more constant sunshine had entered my heart.

I felt within myself more repose,

more certainty;

it was clear

to me,

as I glanced back

over my earlier life,

that a loving Providence watched

over me,

that all was directed

for me

by a higher Power;

and the firmer becomes such a conviction,

the more secure does a man feel himself.

My childhood lay

behind me,

my youthful life began properly

from this period;

hitherto it had been only an arduous swimming

against the stream.

The spring

of my life commenced;

but still the spring had its dark days,

its storms,

before it advanced

to settled summer;

it has these

in order

to develop

what shall

then ripen.


which one

of my dearest friends wrote

to me

on one

of my later travels abroad,

may serve

as an introduction


what I have here

to relate.

He wrote

in his own peculiar style:

--”It is your vivid imagination

which creates the idea

of your being despised

in Denmark;

it is utterly untrue.


and Denmark agree admirably,

and you

would agree still better,


there were

in Denmark no theatre

--Hinc illae lacrymae!

This cursed theatre.

Is this,



and are you,



but a writer

for the theatre?”

, , , , , 

Herein lies a solid truth.

The theatre has been the cave out


which most

of the evil storms have burst upon me.

They are peculiar people,

these people

of the theatre,

--as different,

in fact,

from others,

as Bedouins

from Germans;

from the first pantomimist

to the first lover,

everyone places himself systematically

in one scale,

and puts all the world

in the other.

The Danish theatre is a good theatre,

it may indeed be placed

on a level

with the Burg theatre

in Vienna;

but the theatre

in Copenhagen plays too great a part

in conversation,

and possesses

in most circles too much importance.

I am not sufficiently acquainted

with the stage

and the actors

in other great cities,

and therefore cannot compare them

with our theatre;

but ours has too little military discipline,

and this is absolutely necessary

where many people have

to form a whole,



that whole is an artistical one.

The most distinguished dramatic poets

in Denmark

--that is

to say,

in Copenhagen,


there only is a theatre

--have their troubles.

Those actors

and actresses who,

through talent

or the popular favor,

take the first rank,

very often place themselves

above both the managers

and authors.

These must pay court

to them,

or they may ruin a part,


what is still worse,

may spread abroad an unfavorable opinion

of the piece previous

to its being acted;

and thus you have a coffee-house criticism

before any one ought properly

to know anything

of the work.

It is moreover characteristic

of the people

of Copenhagen,


when a new piece is announced,

they do not say,

“I am glad

of it,”



will probably be good

for nothing;


will be hissed off the stage.”

That hissing-off plays a great part,

and is an amusement

which fills the house;

but it is not the bad actor

who is hissed,


the author

and the composer only are the criminals;

for them the scaffold is erected.

Five minutes is the usual time,

and the whistles resound,

and the lovely women smile

and felicitate themselves,

like the Spanish ladies

at their bloody bullfights.

All our most eminent dramatic writers have been whistled down,

--as Oehlenschl ger,



and others;

to say nothing

of foreign classics,

as Moli re.

In the mean time the theatre is the most profitable sphere

of labor

for the Danish writer,

whose public does not extend far beyond the frontiers.

This had induced me

to write the opera-text already spoken of,

on account


which I was so severely criticised;

and an internal impulse drove me afterwards

to add some other works.

Collin was no longer manager

of the theatre,


of Justice Molbeck had taken his place;

and the tyranny

which now commenced degenerated

into the comic.

I fancy that

in course

of time the manuscript volumes

of the censorship,

which are preserved

in the theatre,



which Molbeck has certainly recorded his judgments

on received

and rejected pieces,

will present some remarkable characteristics.

Over all

that I wrote the staff was broken!

One way was open

to me

by which

to bring my pieces

on the stage;


that was

to give them

to those actors who

in summer gave representations

at their own cost.

In the summer

of 1839 I wrote the vaudeville

of “The Invisible One

on Sprog÷,”

to scenery

which had been painted

for another piece

which fell through;

and the unrestrained merriment

of the piece gave it such favor

with the public,

that I obtained its acceptance

by the manager;


that light sketch still maintains itself

on the boards,

and has survived such a number

of representations

as I had never anticipated.

, , , , , 

This approbation,


procured me no further advantage,

for each

of my succeeding dramatic works received only rejection,

and occasioned me only mortification.



by the idea

and the circumstances

of the little French narrative,

“Les paves,”

I determined

to dramatise it;


as I had often heard

that I did not possess the assiduity sufficient

to work my mat riel well,

I resolved

to labor this drama

--”The Mulatto”

--from the beginning

to the end,

in the most diligent manner,


to compose it

in alternately rhyming verse,

as was

then the fashion.

It was a foreign subject


which I availed myself;


if verses are music,


at least endeavored

to adapt my music

to the text,


to let the poetry

of another diffuse itself

through my spiritual blood;


that people

should not be heard

to say,

as they had done before,

regarding the romance

of Walter Scott,

that the composition was cut down

and fitted

to the stage.

, , , , , 

The piece was ready,

and declared

by able men,

old friends,

and actors

who were

to appear

in it,

to be excellent;

a rich dramatic capacity lay

in the mat riel,

and my lyrical composition clothed this

with so fresh a green,

that people appeared satisfied.

The piece was sent in,

and was rejected

by Molbeck.

It was sufficiently known


what he cherished

for the boards,


there the first evening;


what he cast away

as weeds were flowers

for the garden

--a real consolation

for me.

The assistant-manager,

Privy Counsellor

of State,


a man

of taste

and liberality,

became the patron

of my work;


since a very favorable opinion

of it already prevailed

with the public,

after I had read it

to many persons,

it was resolved


for representation.

I had the honor

to read it

before my present King

and Queen,

who received me

in a very kind

and friendly manner,


from whom,


that time,

I have experienced many proofs

of favor

and cordiality.

The day

of representation arrived;

the bills were posted;

I had not closed my eyes

through the whole night

from excitement

and expectation;

the people already stood

in throngs

before the theatre,

to procure tickets,

when royal messengers galloped

through the streets,

solemn groups collected,

the minute guns pealed,

--Frederick VI.

had died this morning!

For two months more was the theatre closed,

and was opened

under Christian VIII.,

with my drama

--”The Mulatto;”

which was received

with the most triumphant acclamation;

but I

could not

at once feel the joy

of it,

I felt only relieved

from a state

of excitement,

and breathed more freely.

, , , , , 

This piece continued

through a series

of representations

to receive the same approbation;

many placed this work far

above all my former ones,

and considered that

with it began my proper poetical career.

It was soon translated

into the Swedish,

and acted

with applause

at the royal theatre

in Stockholm.

Travelling players introduced it

into the smaller towns

in the neighboring country;

a Danish company gave it

in the original language,

in the Swedish city Malm÷,

and a troop

of students

from the university town

of Lund,

welcomed it

with enthusiasm.

I had been

for a week previous

on a visit

at some Swedish country houses,

where I was entertained

with so much cordial kindness

that the recollection

of it

will never quit my bosom;

and there,

in a foreign country,

I received the first public testimony

of honor,


which has left upon me the deepest

and most inextinguishable impression.

I was invited

by some students

of Lund

to visit their ancient town.

Here a public dinner was given

to me;

speeches were made,

toasts were pronounced;


as I was

in the evening

in a family circle,

I was informed

that the students meant

to honor me

with a serenade.

, , , , , 

I felt myself actually overcome

by this intelligence;

my heart throbbed feverishly

as I descried the thronging troop,

with their blue caps,

and arm-in-arm approaching the house.

I experienced a feeling

of humiliation;

a most lively consciousness

of my deficiencies,


that I seemed bowed

to the very earth

at the moment others were elevating me.

As they all uncovered their heads

while I stepped forth,

I had need

of all my thoughts

to avoid bursting

into tears.

In the feeling

that I was unworthy

of all this,

I glanced round

to see whether a smile did not pass

over the face

of some one,

but I

could discern nothing

of the kind;

and such a discovery would,


that moment,

have inflicted

on me the deepest wound.

, , , , , 

After an hurrah,

a speech was delivered,


which I clearly recollect the following words:

--”When your native land,

and the natives

of Europe offer you their homage,

then may you never forget

that the first public honors were conferred

on you

by the students

of Lund.”

, , , , , 

When the heart is warm,

the strength

of the expression is not weighed.

I felt it deeply,

and replied,


from this moment I became aware

that I must assert a name

in order

to render myself worthy

of these tokens

of honor.

I pressed the hands

of those nearest

to me,

and returned them thanks so deep,

so heartfelt,

--certainly never was an expression

of thanks more sincere.

When I returned

to my chamber,

I went aside,

in order

to weep out this excitement,

this overwhelming sensation.

“Think no more

of it,

be joyous

with us,”

said some

of my lively Swedish friends;

but a deep earnestness had entered my soul.

Often has the memory

of this time come back

to me;

and no noble-minded man,

who reads these pages

will discover a vanity

in the fact,

that I have lingered so long

over this moment

of life,

which scorched the roots

of pride rather

than nourished them.

, , , , , 

My drama was now

to be brought

on the stage

at Malm÷;

the students wished

to see it;

but I hastened my departure,

that I might not be

in the theatre

at the time.

With gratitude

and joy fly my thoughts

towards the Swedish University city,

but I myself have not been

there again since.

In the Swedish newspapers the honors paid me were mentioned,

and it was added

that the Swedes were not unaware that

in my own country

there was a clique

which persecuted me;


that this

should not hinder my neighbors

from offering me the honors

which they deemed my due.

, , , , , 

It was

when I had returned

to Copenhagen

that I first truly felt

how cordially I had been received

by the Swedes;

amongst some

of my old

and tried friends I found the most genuine sympathy.

I saw tears

in their eyes,


of joy

for the honors paid me;

and especially,

said they,

for the manner


which I had received them.

There is

but one manner

for me;

at once,

in the midst

of joy,

I fly

with thanks

to God.

, , , , , 

There were certain persons

who smiled

at the enthusiasm;

certain voices raised themselves already

against “The Mulatto;”

--”the mat riel was merely borrowed;”

the French narrative was scrupulously studied.

That exaggerated praise

which I had received,

now made me sensitive

to the blame;


could bear it less easily

than before,

and saw more clearly,

that it did not spring out

of an interest

in the matter,

but was only uttered

in order

to mortify me.

For the rest,

my mind was fresh

and elastic;

I conceived precisely

at this time the idea

of “The Picture-Book without Pictures,”

and worked it out.

This little book appears,

to judge

by the reviews

and the number

of editions,

to have obtained an extraordinary popularity

in Germany;

it was also translated

into Swedish,

and dedicated

to myself;

at home,

it was here less esteemed;

people talked only

of The Mulatto;

and finally,


of the borrowed mat riel

of it.

I determined,


to produce a new dramatic work,


which both subject

and development,

in fact,


should be

of my own conception.

I had the idea,

and now wrote the tragedy

of The Moorish Maiden,


through this

to stop the mouths

of all my detractors,


to assert my place

as a dramatic poet.

I hoped,


through the income

from this,


with the proceeds

of The Mulatto,

to be able

to make a fresh journey,

not only

to Italy,


to Greece

and Turkey.

My first going abroad had more

than all

besides operated

towards my intellectual development;

I was therefore full

of the passion

for travel,


of the endeavor

to acquire more knowledge

of nature and

of human life.

, , , , , 

My new piece did not please Heiberg,

nor indeed my dramatic endeavors

at all;

his wife

--for whom the chief part appeared

to me especially

to be written



that not

in the most friendly manner,

to play it.

Deeply wounded,

I went forth.

I lamented this

to some individuals.

Whether this was repeated,

or whether a complaint

against the favorite

of the public is a crime,


from this hour Heiberg became my opponent,

--he whose intellectual rank I so highly estimated,


with whom I

would so willingly have allied myself,

--and he

who so often


will venture

to say it

--I had approached

with the whole sincerity

of my nature.

I have constantly declared his wife

to be so distinguished an actress,

and continue still so entirely

of this opinion,

that I

would not hesitate one moment

to assert

that she

would have a European reputation,

were the Danish language

as widely diffused

as the German

or the French.

In tragedy she is,

by the spirit

and the geniality


which she comprehends

and fills any part,

a most interesting object;


in comedy she stands unrivalled.

, , , , , 

The wrong may be

on my side

or not,

--no matter:

a party was opposed

to me.

I felt myself wounded,


by many coincident annoyances there.

I felt uncomfortable

in my native country,


almost ill.

I therefore left my piece

to its fate,



and disconcerted,

I hastened forth.

In this mood I wrote a prologue

to The Moorish Maiden;

which betrayed my irritated mind far too palpably.

If I

would represent this portion

of my life more clearly

and reflectively it

would require me

to penetrate

into the mysteries

of the theatre,

to analyze our aesthetic cliques,


to drag

into conspicuous notice many individuals,

who do not belong

to publicity.

Many persons

in my place would,

like me,

have fallen ill,


would have resented it vehemently:

perhaps the latter

would have been the most sensible.

, , , , , 

At my departure,


of my young friends amongst the students prepared a banquet

for me;

and amongst the elder ones

who were present

to receive me were Collin,

Oehlenschl ger

and Oersted.

This was somewhat

of sunshine

in the midst

of my mortification;


by Oehlenschl ger

and Hillerup were sung;

and I found cordiality

and friendship,

as I quitted my country

in distress.

This was

in October

of 1840.

, , , , , 

For the second time I went

to Italy

and Rome,

to Greece

and Constantinople

--a journey

which I have described after my own manner

in A Poet’s Bazaar.

, , , , , 

In Holstein I continued some days

with Count Rantzau-Breitenburg,

who had

before invited me,

and whose ancestral castle I now

for the first time visited.

Here I became acquainted

with the rich scenery

of Holstein,


and moorland,


then hastened

by Nuremberg

to Munich,

where I again met

with Cornelius

and Schelling,

and was kindly received

by Kaulbach

and Schelling.

I cast a passing glance

on the artistic life

in Munich,


for the most part pursued my own solitary course,

sometimes filled

with the joy

of life,

but oftener despairing

of my powers.

I possessed a peculiar talent,


of lingering

on the gloomy side

of life,

of extracting the bitter

from it,

of tasting it;

and understood well,

when the whole was exhausted,


to torment myself.

, , , , , 

In the winter season I crossed the Brenner,

remained some days

in Florence,

which I had

before visited

for a longer time,


about Christmas reached Rome.

Here again I saw the noble treasures

of art,

met old friends,

and once more passed a Carnival

and Moccoli.

But not alone was I bodily ill;


around me appeared likewise

to sicken;

there was neither the tranquillity nor the freshness

which attended my first sojourn

in Rome.

The rocks quaked,

the Tiber twice rose

into the streets,

fever raged,

and snatched numbers away.

In a few days Prince Borghese lost his wife

and three sons.


and wind prevailed;

in short,

it was dismal,


from home cold lotions only were sent me.

My letters told me

that The Moorish Maiden had several times been acted through,

and had gone quietly off the stage;


as was seen beforehand,

a small public only had been present,

and therefore the manager had laid the piece aside.

Other Copenhagen letters

to our countrymen

in Rome spoke

with enthusiasm

of a new work

by Heiberg;

a satirical poem

--A Soul after Death.

It was

but just out,

they wrote;

all Copenhagen was full

of it,

and Andersen was famously handled

in it.

The book was admirable,

and I was made ridiculous

in it.

That was the whole

which I heard,


that I knew.

No one told me

what really was said

of me;

wherein lay the amusement

and the ludicrous.

It is doubly painful

to be ridiculed

when we

don’t know wherefore we are so.

The information operated

like molten lead dropped

into a wound,

and agonized me cruelly.

It was not

till after my return

to Denmark

that I read this book,

and found


what was said

of me

in it,

was really nothing

in itself

which was worth laying

to heart.

It was a jest

over my celebrity “from Schonen

to Hundsr ck”,

which did not please Heiberg;

he therefore sent my Mulatto

and The Moorish Maiden

to the infernal regions,



that was the most witty conceit

--the condemned were doomed

to witness the performance

of both pieces

in one evening;


then they

could go away

and lay themselves down quietly.

I found the poetry,

for the rest,

so excellent,

that I was half induced

to write

to Heiberg,


to return him my thanks

for it;

but I slept upon this fancy,


when I awoke

and was more composed,

I feared lest such thanks

should be misunderstood;

and so I gave it up.

, , , , , 

In Rome,

as I have said,

I did not see the book;

I only heard the arrows whizz

and felt their wound,

but I did not know

what the poison was

which lay concealed

in them.

It seemed

to me

that Rome was no joy-bringing city;

when I was

there before,

I had also passed dark

and bitter days.

I was ill,

for the first time

in my life,


and bodily ill,

and I made haste

to get away.

, , , , , 

The Danish poet Holst was then

in Rome;

he had received this year a travelling pension.

Hoist had written an elegy

on King Frederick VI.,

which went

from mouth

to mouth,

and awoke an enthusiasm,

like that

of Becker’s contemporaneous Rhine song

in Germany.

He lived

in the same house

with me

in Rome,

and showed me much sympathy:

with him I made the journey

to Naples,


notwithstanding it was March,

the sun

would not properly shine,

and the snow lay

on the hills around.

There was fever

in my blood;

I suffered

in body and

in mind;

and I soon lay so severely affected

by it,

that certainly nothing

but a speedy blood-letting,


which my excellent Neapolitan landlord compelled me,

saved my life.

, , , , , 

In a few days I grew sensibly better;

and I now proceeded

by a French war steamer

to Greece.

Holst accompanied me

on board.

It was now


if a new life had risen

for me;


in truth this was the case;


if this does not appear legibly

in my later writings,

yet it manifested itself

in my views

of life,


in my whole inner development.

As I saw my European home lie far

behind me,

it seemed

to me


if a stream

of forgetfulness flowed

of all bitter

and rankling remembrances:

I felt health

in my blood,


in my thoughts,

and freshly

and courageously I again raised my head.

, , , , , 

Like another Switzerland,

with a loftier

and clearer heaven

than the Italian,

Greece lay

before me;

nature made a deep

and solemn impression upon me;

I felt the sentiment

of standing

on the great battle field

of the world,

where nation had striven

with nation,

and had perished.

No single poem

can embrace such greatness;

every scorched-up bed

of a stream,

every height,

every stone,

has mighty memoirs

to relate.

How little appear the inequalities

of daily life

in such a place!

A kingdom

of ideas streamed

through me,


with such a fulness,

that none

of them fixed themselves

on paper.

I had a desire

to express the idea,

that the godlike was here

on earth

to maintain its contest,

that it is thrust backward,

and yet advances again victoriously

through all ages;

and I found

in the legend

of the Wandering Jew an occasion

for it.

For twelve months this fiction had been emerging

from the sea

of my thoughts;

often did it wholly fill me;

sometimes I fancied

with the alchemists

that I had dug up the treasure;

then again it sank suddenly,

and I despaired

of ever being able

to bring it

to the light.

I felt

what a mass

of knowledge

of various kinds I must first acquire.


at home,

when I was compelled

to hear reproofs


what they call a want

of study,

I had sat deep

into the night,

and had studied history

in Hegel’s Philosophy

of History.

I said nothing

of this,

or other studies,

or they

would immediately have been spoken of,

in the manner

of an instructive lady,

who said,

that people justly complained

that I did not possess learning enough.

“You have really no mythology” said she;

“in all your poems

there appears no single God.

You must pursue mythology;

you must read Racine

and Corneille.”

That she called learning;



like manner every one had something peculiar

to recommend.

For my poem

of Ahasuerus I had read much

and noted much,

but yet not enough;

in Greece,

I thought,

the whole

will collect itself

into clearness.

The poem is not yet ready,

but I hope

that it

will become so

to my honor;

for it happens

with the children

of the spirit,


with the earthly ones,

--they grow

as they sleep.

, , , , , 

In Athens I was heartily welcomed

by Professor Ross,

a native

of Holstein,


by my countrymen.

I found hospitality

and a friendly feeling

in the noble Prokesch-Osten;

even the king

and queen received me most graciously.

I celebrated my birthday

in the Acropolis.

, , , , , 

From Athens I sailed

to Smyrna,


with me it was no childish pleasure

to be able

to tread another quarter

of the globe.

I felt a devotion

in it,



which I felt

as a child

when I entered the old church

at Odense.

I thought

on Christ,

who bled

on this earth;

I thought

on Homer,

whose song eternally resounds hence

over the earth.

The shores

of Asia preached

to me their sermons,

and were perhaps more impressive

than any sermon

in any church

can be.

, , , , , 

In Constantinople I passed eleven interesting days;

and according

to my good fortune

in travel,

the birthday

of Mahomet itself fell exactly during my stay there.

I saw the grand illumination,

which completely transported me

into the Thousand

and One Nights.

, , , , , 

Our Danish ambassador lived several miles

from Constantinople,

and I had therefore no opportunity

of seeing him;

but I found a cordial reception

with the Austrian internuntius,

Baron von St rmer.

With him I had a German home

and friends.

I contemplated making my return

by the Black Sea

and up the Danube;

but the country was disturbed;

it was said

there had been several thousand Christians murdered.

My companions

of the voyage,

in the hotel

where I resided,

gave up this route

of the Danube,


which I had the greatest desire,

and collectively counselled me

against it.


in this case I must return again

by Greece

and Italy

--it was a severe conflict.

, , , , , 

I do not belong

to the courageous;

I feel fear,


in little dangers;


in great ones,


when an advantage is

to be won,

then I have a will,

and it has grown firmer

with years.

I may tremble,

I may fear;

but I still do


which I consider the most proper

to be done.

I am not ashamed

to confess my weakness;

I hold that

when out

of our own true conviction we run counter

to our inborn fear,

we have done our duty.

I had a strong desire

to become acquainted

with the interior

of the country,


to traverse the Danube

in its greatest expansion.

I battled

with myself;

my imagination pointed

to me the most horrible circumstances;

it was an anxious night.

In the morning I took counsel

with Baron St rmer;


as he was

of opinion

that I might undertake the voyage,

I determined upon it.

From the moment

that I had taken my determination,

I had the most immovable reliance

on Providence,

and flung myself calmly

on my fate.

Nothing happened

to me.

The voyage was prosperous,

and after the quarantine

on the Wallachian frontier,

which was painful enough

to me,

I arrived

at Vienna

on the twenty-first day

of the journey.

The sight

of its towers,

and the meeting

with numerous Danes,


in me the thought

of being speedily again

at home.

The idea bowed down my heart,

and sad recollections

and mortifications rose up within me once more.

, , , , , 

In August,


I was again

in Copenhagen.

There I wrote my recollections

of travel,

under the title

of A Poet’s Bazaar,

in several chapters,


to the countries.

In various places abroad I had met

with individuals,


at home,

to whom I felt myself attached.

A poet is

like the bird;

he gives

what he has,

and he gives a song.

I was desirous

to give every one

of those dear ones such a song.

It was a fugitive idea,


may I venture

to say,

in a grateful mood.

Count Rantzau-Breitenburg,

who had resided

in Italy,

who loved the land,

and was become a friend

and benefactor

to me

through my Improvisatore,

must love

that part

of the book

which treated

of his country.

To Liszt

and Thalberg,

who had both shown me the greatest friendship,

I dedicated the portion

which contained the voyage up the Danube,

because one was a Hungarian

and the other an Austrian.

With these indications,

the reader

will easily be able

to trace out the thought

which influenced me

in the choice

of each dedication.

But these appropriations were,

in my native country,


as a fresh proof

of my vanity;

--”I wished

to figure

with great names,

to name distinguished people

as my friends.”

, , , , , 

The book has been translated

into several languages,

and the dedications

with it.

I know not

how they have been regarded abroad;

if I have been judged

there as

in Denmark,

I hope

that this explanation

will change the opinion concerning them.

In Denmark my Bazaar procured me the most handsome remuneration

that I have

as yet received,

--a proof

that I was

at length read there.

No regular criticism appeared upon it,

if we except notices

in some daily papers,

and afterwards

in the poetical attempt

of a young writer who,

a year before,

had testified

to me

in writing his love,

and his wish

to do me honor;


who now,

in his first public appearance,

launched his satirical poem

against his friend.

I was personally attached

to this young man,

and am so still.

He assuredly thought more

on the popularity he

would gain

by sailing

in the wake

of Heiberg,


on the pain he

would inflict

on me.

The newspaper criticism

in Copenhagen was infinitely stupid.

It was set down

as exaggerated,

that I

could have seen the whole round blue globe

of the moon

in Smyrna

at the time

of the new moon.

That was called fancy

and extravagance,


there every one sees


can open his eyes.

The new moon has a dark blue

and perfectly round disk.

, , , , , 

The Danish critics have generally no open eye

for nature:

even the highest

and most cultivated monthly periodical

of literature

in Denmark censured me once because,

in a poem I had described a rainbow

by moonlight.

That too was my fancy,


said they,

carried me too far.

When I said

in the Bazaar,

“if I were a painter,


would paint this bridge;


as I am no painter,

but a poet,

I must therefore speak,”


Upon this the critic says,

“He is so vain,

that he tells us himself

that he is a poet.”

There is something so pitiful

in such criticism,

that one cannot be wounded

by it;

but even

when we are the most peaceable

of men,

we feel a desire

to flagellate such wet dogs,

who come

into our rooms

and lay themselves down

in the best place

in them.

There might be a whole Fool’s Chronicle written

of all the absurd

and shameless things which,

from my first appearance

before the public

till this moment,

I have been compelled

to hear.

, , , , , 

In the meantime the Bazaar was much read,

and made

what is called a hit.

I received,


with this book,

much encouragement

and many recognitions

from individuals

of the highest distinction

in the realms

of intellect

in my native land.

, , , , , 

The journey had strengthened me both

in mind

and body;

I began

to show indications

of a firmer purpose,

a more certain judgment.

I was now

in harmony

with myself


with mankind

around me.

, , , , , 

Political life

in Denmark had,


that time,


at a higher development,

producing both good

and evil fruits.

The eloquence

which had formerly accustomed itself

to the Demosthenic mode,


of putting little pebbles

in the mouth,

the little pebbles

of every day life,

now exercised itself more freely

on subjects

of greater interest.

I felt no call thereto,

and no necessity

to mix myself up

in such matters;

for I

then believed

that the politics

of our times were a great misfortune

to many a poet.


politics are

like Venus;

they whom she decoys

into her castle perish.

It fares

with the writings

of these poets


with the newspapers:

they are seized upon,



and forgotten.

In our days every one wishes

to rule;

the subjective makes its power

of value;

people forget

that that

which is thought

of cannot always be carried out,


that many things look very different

when contemplated

from the top

of the tree,


what they did

when seen

from its roots.


will bow myself

before him

who is influenced

by a noble conviction,


who only desires


which is conducive

to good,

be he prince

or man

of the people.

Politics are no affair

of mine.

God has imparted

to me another mission:

that I felt,


that I feel still.

I met

in the so-called first families

of the country a number

of friendly,

kind-hearted men,

who valued the good

that was

in me,

received me

into their circles,

and permitted me

to participate

in the happiness

of their opulent summer residences;

so that,

still feeling independent,


could thoroughly give myself up

to the pleasures

of nature,

the solitude

of woods,

and country life.


for the first time I lived wholly

among the scenery

of Denmark,


there I wrote the greater number

of my fairy tales.

On the banks

of quiet lakes,

amid the woods,

on the green grassy pastures,

where the game sprang past me

and the stork paced along

on his red legs,

I heard nothing

of politics,


of polemics;

I heard no one practising himself

in Hagel’s phraseology.


which was

around me

and within me,


to me

of my calling.

I spent many happy days

at the old house

of Gisselfeld,

formerly a monastery,

which stands

in the deepest solitude

of the woods,


with lakes

and hills.

The possessor

of this fine place,

the old Countess Danneskjold,


of the Duchess

of Augustenburg,

was an agreeable

and excellent lady,

I was

there not

as a poor child

of the people,


as a cordially-received guest.

The beeches now overshadow her grave

in the midst


that pleasant scenery


which her heart was allied.

, , , , , 


by Gisselfeld,


in a still finer situation,


of much greater extent,

lies the estate

of Bregentoed,

which belongs

to Count Moltke,

Danish Minister

of Finance.

The hospitality

which I met with

in this place,


of the richest

and most beautiful

of our country,

and the happy,

social life

which surrounded me here,

have diffused a sunshine

over my life.

, , , , , 

It may appear,



if I desired

to bring the names

of great people prominently forward,

and make a parade

of them;



if I wished

in this way

to offer a kind

of thanks

to my benefactors.

They need it not,

and I

should be obliged

to mention many other names still

if this were my intention.

I speak,



of these two places,


of Nys÷,

which belongs

to Baron Stampe,


which has become celebrated

through Thorwaldsen.

Here I lived much

with the great sculptor,

and here I became acquainted

with one

of my dearest young friends,

the future possessor

of the place.

, , , , , 


of life

in these various circles has had great influence

on me:

among princes,

among the nobility,


among the poorest

of the people,

I have met

with specimens

of noble humanity.

We all

of us resemble each other



which is good

and best.

, , , , , 

Winter life

in Denmark has likewise its attractions

and its rich variety.

I spent also some time

in the country during this season,

and made myself acquainted

with its peculiar characteristics.

The greatest part

of my time,


I passed

in Copenhagen.

I felt myself

at home

with the married sons

and daughters

of Collin,

where a number

of amiable children were growing up.

Every year strengthened the bond

of friendship

between myself

and the nobly-gifted composer,



and the freshness

of nature prospered

in his house.

Collin was my counsellor

in practical life,

and Oersted

in my literary affairs.

The theatre was,

if I may so say,

my club.

I visited it every evening,


in this very year I had received a place

in the so-called court stalls.

An author must,

as a matter

of course,

work himself up

to it.

After the first accepted piece he obtains admission

to the pit;

after the second greater work,

in the stalls,

where the actors have their seats;

and after three larger works,

or a succession

of lesser pieces,

the poet is advanced

to the best places.

Here were

to be found Thorwaldsen,

Oehlenschl ger,

and several older poets;

and here also,

in 1840,1 obtained a place,

after I had given

in seven pieces.

Whilst Thorwaldsen lived,

I often,

by his own wish,


at his side.

Oehlenschl ger was also my neighbor,


in many an evening hour,

when no one dreamed

of it,

my soul was steeped

in deep humility,

as I sate

between these great spirits.

The different periods

of my life passed

before me;

the time

when I sate

on the hindmost bench

in the box

of the female figurantes,

as well

as that

in which,


of childish superstition,

I knelt down

there upon the stage

and repeated the Lord’s Prayer,


before the very place

where I now sate

among the first

and the most distinguished men.

At the time,


when a countryman

of mine thus thought


and passed judgment upon me,

--”there he sits,

between the two great spirits,


of arrogance

and pride;”

he may now perceive

by this acknowledgment

how unjustly he has judged me.


and prayer

to God

for strength

to deserve my happiness,

filled my heart.

May He always enable me

to preserve these feelings?

I enjoyed the friendship

of Thorwaldsen

as well as

of Oehlenschl ger,

those two most distinguished stars

in the horizon

of the North.

I may here bring forward their reflected glory



around me.

, , , , , 

There is

in the character

of Oehlenschl ger,

when he is not seen

in the circles

of the great,

where he is quiet

and reserved,

something so open

and child-like,

that no one

can help becoming attached

to him.

As a poet,

he holds

in the North a position


as great importance

as Goethe did

in Germany.

He is

in his best works so penetrated

by the spirit

of the North,


through him it has,

as it were,

ascended upon all nations.

In foreign countries he is not so much appreciated.

The works


which he is best known are “Correggio”

and “Aladdin;”

but assuredly his masterly poem

of “The Northern Gods” occupied a far higher rank:

it is our “Iliad.”

It possesses power,



any expression

of mine is poor.

It is possessed

of grandeur;

it is the poet Oehlenschl ger

in the bloom

of his soul.



and Palnatoke

will live

in the poetry

of Oehlenschl ger

as long

as mankind endures.



and Sweden have fully appreciated him,

and have shown him

that they do so,

and whenever it is asked

who occupies the first place

in the kingdom

of mind,

the palm is always awarded

to him.

He is the true-born poet;

he appears always young,

whilst he himself,

the oldest

of all,

surpasses all

in the productiveness

of his mind.

He listened

with friendly disposition

to my first lyrical outpourings;

and he acknowledged

with earnestness

and cordiality the poet

who told the fairy-tales.

My Biographer

in the Danish Pantheon brought me

in contact

with Oehlenschl ger,

when he said,

“In our days it is becoming more

and more rare

for any one,

by implicitly following those inborn impulses

of his soul,

which make themselves irresistibly felt,

to step forward

as an artist

or a poet.

He is more frequently fashioned

by fate

and circumstances

than apparently destined

by nature herself

for this office.

With the greater number

of our poets an early acquaintance

with passion,

early inward experience,

or outward circumstances,

stand instead

of the original vein

of nature,

and this cannot

in any case be more incontestably proved

in our own literature than

by instancing Oehlenschl ger

and Andersen.


in this way it may be explained

why the former has been so frequently the object

for the attacks

of the critics,


why the latter was first properly appreciated

as a poet

in foreign countries

where civilization

of a longer date has already produced a disinclination

for the compulsory rule

of schools,

and has occasioned a reaction towards


which is fresh

and natural;

whilst we Danes,

on the contrary,

cherish a pious respect

for the yoke

of the schools

and the worn-out wisdom

of maxims.”

, , , , , 



as I have already said,

I had become acquainted with

in Rome

in the years 1833

and 1834,

was expected

in Denmark

in the autumn

of 1838,

and great festive preparations were made

in consequence.

A flag was

to wave upon one

of the towers

of Copenhagen

as soon

as the vessel

which brought him

should come

in sight.

It was a national festival.

Boats decorated

with flowers

and flags filled the Rhede;



all had their flags

with emblems;

the students’ bore a Minerva,

the poets’ a Pegasus.

It was misty weather,

and the ship was first seen

when it was already close

by the city,

and all poured out

to meet him.

The poets,


I believe,


to the arrangement

of Heiberg,

had been invited,


by their boat;

Oehlenschl ger

and Heiberg alone had not arrived.

And now guns were fired

from the ship,

which came

to anchor,

and it was

to be feared

that Thorwaldsen might land

before we had gone out

to meet him.

The wind bore the voice

of singing over

to us:

the festive reception had already begun.

, , , , , 

I wished

to see him,

and therefore cried out

to the others,

“Let us put off!”

“Without Oehlenschl ger

and Heiberg?”

asked some one.

, , , , , 

“But they are not arrived,

and it

will be all over.”

, , , , , 


of the poets declared that

if these two men were not

with us,


should not sail under

that flag,

and pointed up

to Pegasus.

, , , , , 


will throw it

in the boat,”

said I,

and took it down

from the staff;

the others now followed me,

and came up just

as Thorwaldsen reached land.

We met

with Oehlenschl ger

and Heiberg

in another boat,

and they came over

to us

as the enthusiasm began

on shore.

, , , , , 

The people drew Thorwaldsen’s carriage

through the streets

to his house,

where everybody

who had the slightest acquaintance

with him,


with the friends

of a friend

of his,


around him.

In the evening the artists gave him a serenade,

and the blaze

of the torches illumined the garden

under the large trees,

there was an exultation

and joy

which really

and truly was felt.


and old hastened

through the open doors,

and the joyful old man clasped those whom he knew

to his breast,

gave them his kiss,

and pressed their hands.

There was a glory round Thorwaldsen

which kept me timidly back:

my heart beat

for joy

of seeing him

who had met me

when abroad

with kindness

and consolation,

who had pressed me

to his heart,

and had said

that we must always remain friends.

But here

in this jubilant crowd,

where thousands noticed every movement

of his,

where I too

by all these

should be observed

and criticised



as a vain man

who now only wished

to show

that he too was acquainted

with Thorwaldsen,


that this great man was kind

and friendly

towards him


in this dense crowd,

I drew myself back,

and avoided being recognized

by him.

Some days afterwards,

and early

in the morning,

I went

to call upon him,

and found him

as a friend

who had wondered

at not having seen me earlier.

, , , , , 

In honor

of Thorwaldsen a musical-poetic academy was established,

and the poets,

who were invited

to do so

by Heiberg,


and read each one a poem

in praise

of him

who had returned home.

I wrote

of Jason

who fetched the golden fleece

--that is

to say,


who went forth

to win golden art.

A great dinner

and a ball closed the festival,

in which,

for the first time

in Denmark,

popular life

and a subject

of great interest

in the realms

of art were made public.

, , , , , 

From this evening I saw Thorwaldsen

almost daily

in company or

in his studio:

I often passed several weeks together

with him

at Nys÷,

where he seemed

to have firmly taken root,


where the greater number

of his works,


in Denmark,

had their origin.

He was

of a healthful

and simple disposition

of mind,

not without humor,



he was extremely attached

to Holberg the poet:

he did not

at all enter

into the troubles

and the disruptions

of the world.

, , , , , 

One morning

at Nys÷

--at the time

when he was working

at his own statue

--I entered his work-room

and bade him good morning;

he appeared


if he did not wish

to notice me,

and I stole softly away again.

At breakfast he was very parsimonious

in the use

of words,


when somebody asked him

to say something

at all events,

he replied

in his dry way:


“I have said more during this morning than

in many whole days,

but nobody heard me.

There I stood,

and fancied

that Andersen was

behind me,

for he came,

and said good morning

--so I told him a long story

about myself

and Byron.

I thought

that he might give one word

in reply,

and turned myself round;


there had I been standing a whole hour

and chattering aloud

to the bare walls.”

, , , , , 

We all

of us besought him

to let us hear the whole story yet once more;

but we had it now very short.

, , , , , 


that was

in Rome,”

said he,

“when I was about

to make Byron’s statue;

he placed himself just opposite

to me,

and began immediately

to assume quite another countenance


what was customary

to him.

‘Will not you sit still?’

said I;

‘but you must not make these faces.’

‘It is my expression,’

said Byron.


said I,


then I made him

as I wished,

and everybody said,

when it was finished,

that I had hit the likeness.

When Byron,


saw it,

he said,

‘It does not resemble me

at all;

I look more unhappy.’”

“He was,

above all things,

so desirous

of looking extremely unhappy,”

added Thorwaldsen,

with a comic expression.

, , , , , 

It afforded the great sculptor pleasure

to listen

to music after dinner

with half-shut eyes,

and it was his greatest delight when

in the evening the game

of lotto began,

which the whole neighborhood

of Nys÷ was obliged

to learn;

they only played

for glass pieces,


on this account I am able

to relate a peculiar characteristic

of this otherwise great man

--that he played

with the greatest interest

on purpose

to win.


would espouse

with warmth

and vehemence the part

of those

from whom he believed

that he had received an injustice;

he opposed himself

to unfairness

and raillery,


against the lady

of the house,


for the rest had the most childlike sentiments

towards him,


who had no other thought

than how

to make everything most agreeable

to him.

In his company I wrote several

of my tales

for children

--for example,

“Ole Luck Oin,”

(“Ole Shut Eye,”)


which he listened

with pleasure

and interest.


in the twilight,

when the family circle sate

in the open garden parlor,


would come softly

behind me,


clapping me

on the shoulder,

would ask,

“Shall we little ones hear any tales tonight?”

, , , , , 

In his own peculiarly natural manner he bestowed the most bountiful praise

on my fictions,

for their truth;

it delighted him

to hear the same stories over


over again.


during his most glorious works,

would he stand

with laughing countenance,

and listen

to the stories

of the Top

and the Ball,

and the Ugly Duckling.

I possess a certain talent

of improvising

in my native tongue little poems

and songs.

This talent amused Thorwaldsen very much;


as he had modelled,

at Nys÷,

Holberg’s portrait

in clay,

I was commissioned

to make a poem

for his work,

and he received,


the following impromptu:


 “No more shall Holberg live,”

by Death was said,

 “I crush the clay,

his soul’s bonds heretofore.”

, , , , , 


from the formless clay,

the cold,

the dead,”

 Cried Thorwaldsen,

“shall Holberg live once more.”

, , , , , 

One morning,

when he had just modelled

in clay his great bas-relief

of the Procession

to Golgotha,

I entered his study.

, , , , , 

“Tell me,”

said he,

“does it seem

to you

that I have dressed Pilate properly?”

, , , , , 

“You must not say anything

to him,”

said the Baroness,

who was always

with him:

“it is right;

it is excellent;

go away

with you!”

Thorwaldsen repeated his question.

, , , , , 



said I,

“as you ask me,

I must confess

that it really does appear

to me


if Pilate were dressed rather

as an Egyptian than

as a Roman.”

, , , , , 

“It seems

to me so too,”

said Thorwaldsen,

seizing the clay

with his hand,

and destroying the figure.

, , , , , 

“Now you are guilty

of his having annihilated an immortal work,”

exclaimed the Baroness

to me

with warmth.

, , , , , 

“Then we

can make a new immortal work,”

said he,

in a cheerful humor,

and modelled Pilate

as he now remains

in the bas-relief

in the Ladies’ Church

in Copenhagen.

, , , , , 

His last birth-day was celebrated there

in the country.

I had written a merry little song,

and it was

hardly dry

on the paper,

when we sang it,

in the early morning,

before his door,


by the music

of jingling fire-irons,


and bottles rubbed

against a basket.

Thorwaldsen himself,

in his morning gown

and slippers,

opened his door,

and danced round his chamber;

swung round his Raphael’s cap,

and joined

in the chorus.

There was life

and mirth

in the strong old man.

, , , , , 

On the last day

of his life I sate

by him

at dinner;

he was unusually good-humored;

repeated several witticisms

which he had just read

in the Corsair,

a well-known Copenhagen newspaper,

and spoke

of the journey

which he

should undertake

to Italy

in the summer.

After this we parted;

he went

to the theatre,

and I home.

, , , , , 

On the following morning the waiter

at the hotel

where I lived said,

“that it was a very remarkable thing

about Thorwaldsen

--that he had died yesterday.”

, , , , , 


exclaimed I;

“he is not dead,

I dined

with him yesterday.”

, , , , , 

“People say

that he died last evening

at the theatre,”

returned the waiter.

I fancied

that he might be taken ill;

but still I felt a strange anxiety,

and hastened immediately over

to his house.

There lay his corpse stretched out

on the bed;

the chamber was filled

with strangers;

the floor wet

with melted snow;

the air stifling;

no one said a word:

the Baroness Stampe sate

on the bed

and wept bitterly.

I stood trembling

and deeply agitated.

, , , , , 

A farewell hymn,

which I wrote,



which Hartmann composed the music,

was sung

by Danish students

over his coffin.

, , , , , 


, , , , , 

In the summer

of 1842,

I wrote a little piece

for the summer theatre,


“The Bird

in the Pear-tree,”


which several scenes were acted up

in the pear-tree.

I had called it a dramatic trifle,

in order

that no one might expect either a great work

or one

of a very elaborate character.

It was a little sketch,


after being performed a few times,

was received

with so much applause,

that the directors

of the theatre accepted it;


even Mrs. Heiberg,

the favorite

of the public,


to take a part

in it.

People had amused themselves;

had thought the selection

of the music excellent.

I knew

that the piece had stood its rehearsal


then suddenly it was hissed.

Some young men,

who gave the word

to hiss,

had said

to some others,

who inquired

from them their reasons

for doing so,

that the trifle had too much luck,


then Andersen

would be getting too mettlesome.

, , , , , 

I was not,

on this evening,

at the theatre myself,

and had not the least idea


what was going on.

On the following I went

to the house

of one

of my friends.

I had head-ache,

and was looking very grave.

The lady

of the house met me

with a sympathizing manner,

took my hand,

and said,

“Is it really worth while

to take it so much

to heart?

There were only two

who hissed,

the whole house beside took your part.”

, , , , , 


My part!

Have I been hissed?”

exclaimed I. It was quite comic;

one person assured me

that this hissing had been a triumph

for me;

everybody had joined

in acclamation,

and “there was only one

who hissed.”

, , , , , 

After this,

another person came,

and I asked him

of the number

of those

who hissed.


said he.

The next person said “three,”

and said positively

there were no more.


of my most veracious friends now made his appearance,

and I asked him upon his conscience,

how many he had heard;

he laid his hand upon his heart,

and said that,

at the very highest,

they were five.

, , , , , 


said I,

“now I

will ask nobody more;

the number grows just


with Falstaff;

here stands one

who asserts


there was only one person

who hissed.”

, , , , , 


and yet inclined

to set it all right again,

he replied,


that is possible,


then it was a strong,

powerful hiss.”

, , , , , 

By my last works,


through a rational economy,

I had now saved a small sum

of money,

which I destined

to the purposes

of a new journey

to Paris,

where I arrived

in the winter

of 1843,

by way

of D sseldorf,

through Belgium.

, , , , , 

Marmier had already,

in the R vue de Paris,

written an article

on me,

La Vie d’un Po te.

He had also translated several

of my poems

into French,

and had actually honored me

with a poem

which is printed

in the above-named R vue.

My name had thus reached,

like a sound,

the ears

of some persons

in the literary world,

and I here met

with a surprisingly friendly reception.

, , , , , 

At Victor Hugo’s invitation,

I saw his abused Burggraves.


and Mrs. Ancelot opened their house

to me,


there I met Martinez della Rosa

and other remarkable men

of these times.

Lamart ne seemed

to me,

in his domestic,


in his whole personal appearance,

as the prince

of them all.

On my apologizing

because I spoke such bad French,

he replied,

that he was

to blame,

because he did not understand the northern languages,

in which,

as he had discovered

in late years,

there existed a fresh

and vigorous literature,


where the poetical ground was so peculiar

that you had only

to stoop down

to find an old golden horn.

He asked

about the Trollh tta canal,

and avowed a wish

to visit Denmark

and Stockholm.

He recollected also our now reigning king,

to whom,


as prince he was

in Castellamare,

he had paid his respects;

besides this,

he exhibited

for a Frenchman,

an extraordinary acquaintance

with names

and places

in Denmark.

On my departure he wrote a little poem

for me,

which I preserve amongst my dearest relics.

, , , , , 

I generally found the jovial Alexander Dumas

in bed,

even long after mid-day:

here he lay,

with paper,


and ink,

and wrote his newest drama.

I found him thus one day;

he nodded kindly

to me,

and said,

“Sit down a minute;

I have just now a visit

from my muse;


will be going directly.”

He wrote on;

spoke aloud;

shouted a viva!

sprang out

of bed,

and said,

“The third act is finished!”

One evening he conducted me round

into the various theatres,

that I might see the life

behind the scenes.

We wandered about,


in arm,

along the gay Boulevard.

, , , , , 

I also have

to thank him

for my acquaintance

with Rachel.

I had not seen her act,

when Alexander Dumas asked me whether I had the desire

to make her acquaintance.

One evening,

when she was

to come out

as Phedra he led me

to the stage

of the Th atre Fran ais.

The Representation had begun,


behind the scenes,

where a folding screen had formed a sort

of room,


which stood a table

with refreshments,

and a few ottomans,

sate the young girl who,

as an author has said,

understands how

to chisel living statues out

of Racine’s

and Corneille’s blocks

of marble.

She was thin

and slenderly formed,

and looked very young.

She looked

to me there,

and more particularly so afterwards

in her own house,

as an image

of mourning;

as a young girl

who has just wept out her sorrow,


will now let her thoughts repose

in quiet.

She accosted us kindly

in a deep powerful voice.

In the course

of conversation

with Dumas,

she forgot me.

I stood

there quite superfluous.

Dumas observed it,

said something handsome

of me,



that I ventured

to take part

in the discourse,

although I had a depressing feeling

that I stood

before those

who perhaps spoke the most beautiful French

in all France.

I said

that I truly had seen much

that was glorious

and interesting,


that I had never yet seen a Rachel,

and that

on her account especially had I devoted the profits

of my last work

to a journey

to Paris;

and as,

in conclusion,

I added an apology

on account

of my French,

she smiled

and said,

“When you say anything so polite



which you have just said

to me,

to a Frenchwoman,


will always think

that you speak well.”

, , , , , 

When I told her

that her fame had resounded

to the North,

she declared

that it was her intention

to go

to Petersburg

and Copenhagen:


when I come

to your city”,

she said,

“you must be my defender,

as you are the only one

there whom I know;


in order

that we may become acquainted,


as you,

as you say,

are come

to Paris especially

on my account,

we must see each other frequently.


will be welcome

to me.

I see my friends

at my house every Thursday.

But duty calls,”

said she,

and offering us her hand,

she nodded kindly,


then stood a few paces

from us

on the stage,


quite different,


with the expression

of the tragic muse herself.

Joyous acclamations ascended


where we sat.

, , , , , 

As a Northlander I cannot accustom myself

to the French mode

of acting tragedy.

Rachel plays

in this same style,


in her it appears

to be nature itself;

it is


if all the others strove

to imitate her.

She is herself the French tragic muse,

the others are only poor human beings.

When Rachel plays people fancy

that all tragedy must be acted

in this manner.

It is

in her truth

and nature,


under another revelation

to that


which we are acquainted

in the north.

, , , , , 

At her house everything is rich

and magnificent,

perhaps too recherch .

The innermost room was blue-green,

with shaded lamps

and statuettes

of French authors.

In the salon,

properly speaking,

the color

which prevailed principally

in the carpets,


and bookcases was crimson.

She herself was dressed

in black,


as she is represented

in the well-known English steel engraving

of her.

Her guests consisted

of gentlemen,

for the greater part artists

and men

of learning.

I also heard a few titles amongst them.

Richly apparelled servants announced the names

of the arrivals;

tea was drunk

and refreshments handed round,


in the German

than the French style.

, , , , , 

Victor Hugo had told me

that he found she understood the German language.

I asked her,

and she replied

in German,

“ich kann es lesen;

ich bin ja

in Lothringen geboren;

ich habe deutsche B cher,

sehn Sie hier!”

and she showed me Grillparzer’s “Sappho,”


then immediately continued the conversation

in French.

She expressed her pleasure

in acting the part

of Sappho,


then spoke

of Schiller’s “Maria Stuart,”

which character she has personated

in a French version


that play.

I saw her

in this part,

and she gave the last act especially

with such a composure

and tragic feeling,

that she might have been one

of the best

of German actresses;

but it was precisely

in this very act

that the French liked her least.

, , , , , 

“My countrymen,”

said she,

“are not accustomed

to this manner,


in this manner alone

can the part be given.

No one

should be raving

when the heart is

almost broken

with sorrow,


when he is about

to take an everlasting farewell

of his friends.”

, , , , , 

Her drawing-room was,

for the most part,


with books

which were splendidly bound

and arranged

in handsome book-cases

behind glass.

A painting hung

on the wall,

which represented the interior

of the theatre

in London,

where she stood forward

on the stage,

and flowers

and garlands were thrown

to her

across the orchestra.

Below this picture hung a pretty little book-shelf,


what I call “the high nobility

among the poets,”






, , , , , 

She asked me many questions respecting Germany

and Denmark,


and the theatre;

and she encouraged me

with a kind smile

around her grave mouth,

when I stumbled

in French

and stopped

for a moment

to collect myself,

that I might not stick quite fast.

, , , , , 

“Only speak,”

said she.

“It is true

that you do not speak French well.

I have heard many foreigners speak my native language better;

but their conversation has not been nearly

as interesting

as yours.

I understand the sense

of your words perfectly,


that is the principal thing

which interests me

in you.”

, , , , , 

The last time we parted she wrote the following words

in my album:

“L’art c’est le vrai!

J’esp re que cet aphorisme ne semblera pas paradoxal un crivain si distingu comme M. Andersen.”

, , , , , 

I perceived amiability

of character

in Alfred de Vigny.

He has married an English lady,



which is best

in both nations seemed

to unite

in his house.

The last evening

which I spent

in Paris,

he himself,

who is possessed

of intellectual status

and worldly wealth,

came almost

at midnight

to my lodging

in the Rue Richelieu,

ascended the many steps,

and brought me his works

under his arm.

So much cordiality beamed

in his eyes

and he seemed

to be so full

of kindness

towards me,

that I felt affected

by our separation.

, , , , , 

I also became acquainted

with the sculptor David.

There was a something

in his demeanor and

in his straightforward manner

that reminded me

of Thorwaldsen

and Bissen,


of the latter.

We did not meet


towards the conclusion

of my residence

in Paris.

He lamented it,

and said

that he

would execute a bust

of me

if I

would remain

there longer.

, , , , , 

When I said,

“But you know nothing

of me

as a poet,

and cannot tell whether I deserve it

or not,”

he looked earnestly

in my face,

clapped me

on the shoulder,

and said,

“I have,


read you yourself

before your books.

You are a poet.”

, , , , , 

At the Countess 



where I met

with Balzac,

I saw an old lady,

the expression

of whose countenance attracted my attention.

There was something so animated,

so cordial

in it,

and everybody gathered

about her.

The Countess introduced me

to her,

and I heard

that she was Madame Reybaud,

the authoress

of Les Epaves,

the little story

which I had made use


for my little drama

of The Mulatto.

I told her all

about it,


of the representation

of the piece,

which interested her so much,

that she became

from this evening my especial protectress.

We went out one evening together

and exchanged ideas.

She corrected my French

and allowed me

to repeat

what did not appear correct

to her.

She is a lady

of rich mental endowments,

with a clear insight

into the world,

and she showed maternal kindness

towards me.

, , , , , 

I also again met

with Heine.

He had married

since I was last here.

I found him

in indifferent health;

but full

of energy,

and so friendly

and so natural

in his behavior

towards me,

that I felt no timidity

in exhibiting myself

to him

as I was.

One day he had been relating

to his wife my story

of the Constant Tin Soldier,


whilst he said

that I was the author

of this story,

he introduced me

to her.

She was a lively,

pretty young lady.

A troop

of children,


as Heine says,


to a neighbor,

played about

in their room.

We two played

with them whilst Heine copied out one

of his last poems

for me.

, , , , , 

I perceived

in him no pain-giving,

sarcastic smile;

I only heard the pulsation

of a German heart,

which is always perceptible

in the songs,


which must live.

, , , , , 

Through the means

of the many people I was acquainted

with here,

among whom I might enumerate many others,


for instance,




my residence

in Paris was made very cheerful

and rich

in pleasure.

I did not feel myself

like a stranger there:

I met

with a friendly reception

among the greatest

and best.

It was

like a payment

by anticipation

of the talent

which was

in me,

and through

which they expected

that I

would some time prove them not

to have been mistaken.

, , , , , 

Whilst I was

in Paris,

I received

from Germany,

where already several

of my works were translated

and read,

a delightful

and encouraging proof

of friendship.

A German family,


of the most highly cultivated

and amiable

with whom I am acquainted,

had read my writings

with interest,

especially the little biographical sketch prefixed

to Only a Fiddler,

and felt the heartiest goodwill

towards me,

with whom they were

then not personally acquainted.

They wrote

to me,

expressed their thanks

for my works

and the pleasure they had derived

from them,

and offered me a kind welcome

to their house

if I

would visit it

on my return home.

There was a something extremely cordial

and natural

in this letter,

which was the first

that I received

of this kind

in Paris,

and it also formed a remarkable contrast



which was sent

to me

from my native land

in the year 1833,

when I was here

for the first time.

, , , , , 

In this way I found myself,

through my writings,


as it were,

into a family


which since

then I gladly betake myself,


where I know

that it is not only

as the poet,


as the man,

that I am beloved.


how many instances have I not experienced the same kindness

in foreign countries!


will mention one

for the sake

of its peculiarity.

, , , , , 

There lived

in Saxony a wealthy

and benevolent family;

the lady

of the house read my romance

of Only a Fiddler,

and the impression

of this book was such

that she vowed that,

if ever,

in the course

of her life,


should meet

with a poor child

which was possessed

of great musical talents,


would not allow it

to perish

as the poor Fiddler had done.

A musician

who had heard her say this,


to her soon after,

not one,

but two poor boys,

assuring her

of their talent,

and reminding her

of her promise.

She kept her word:

both boys were received

into her house,

were educated

by her,

and are now

in the Conservatorium;

the youngest

of them played

before me,

and I saw

that his countenance was happy

and joyful.

The same thing perhaps might have happened;

the same excellent lady might have befriended these children without my book having been written:

but notwithstanding this,

my book is now connected

with this

as a link

in the chain.

, , , , , 

On my return home

from Paris,

I went

along the Rhine;

I knew

that the poet Frieligrath,

to whom the King

of Prussia had given a pension,

was residing

in one

of the Rhine towns.

The picturesque character

of his poems had delighted me extremely,

and I wished

to talk

with him.

I stopped

at several towns

on the Rhine,

and inquired after him.

In St. Goar,

I was shown the house


which he lived.

I found him sitting

at his writing table,

and he appeared annoyed

at being disturbed

by a stranger.

I did not mention my name;

but merely said

that I

could not pass St. Goar without paying my respects

to the poet Frieligrath.

, , , , , 

“That is very kind

of you,”

said he,

in a very cold tone;


then asked

who I was.

, , , , , 

“We have both

of us one

and the same friend,


replied I,


at these words he leapt up exultantly.

, , , , , 

“You are

then Andersen!”

he exclaimed;

threw his arms

around my neck,

and his honest eyes beamed

with joy.

, , , , , 

“Now you

will stop several days here,”

said he.

I told him

that I

could only stay a couple

of hours,

because I was travelling

with some

of my countrymen

who were waiting

for me.

, , , , , 

“You have a great many friends

in little St. Goar,”

said he;

“it is

but a short time

since I read aloud your novel

of O. T. to a large circle;


of these friends I must,

at all events,

fetch here,

and you must also see my wife.



you do not know

that you had something

to do

in our being married.”

, , , , , 


then related

to me

how my novel,

Only a Fiddler,

had caused them

to exchange letters,


then led

to their acquaintance,

which acquaintance had ended

in their being a married couple.

He called her,


to her my name,

and I was regarded

as an old friend.

Such moments

as these are a blessing;

a mercy

of God,

a happiness


how many such,

how various,

have I not enjoyed!

I relate all these,

to me,

joyful occurrences;

they are facts

in my life:

I relate them,

as I formerly have related


which was miserable,


and depressing;


if I have done so,

in the spirit

which operated

in my soul,


will not be called pride

or vanity;


of them

would assuredly be the proper name

for it.

But people may perhaps ask

at home,

Has Andersen

then never been attacked

in foreign countries?

I must reply,


No regular attack has been made upon me,

at least they have never

at home called my attention

to any such,

and therefore

there certainly cannot have been anything

of the kind;

--with the exception

of one

which made its appearance

in Germany,


which originated

in Denmark,

at the very moment

when I was

in Paris.

, , , , , 

A certain Mr. Boas made a journey


that time

through Scandinavia,

and wrote a book

on the subject.

In this he gave a sort

of survey

of Danish literature,

which he also published

in the journal called Die Grenzboten;

in this I was very severely handled

as a man and

as a poet.

Several other Danish poets also,


for instance,

Christian Winter,

have an equally great right

to complain.

Mr. Boas had drawn his information out

of the miserable gossip

of every-day life;

his work excited attention

in Copenhagen,

and nobody


would allow themselves

to be considered

as his informants;


even Holst the poet,


as may be seen

from the work,


with him

through Sweden,

and had received him

at his house

in Copenhagen,

on this occasion published,

in one

of the most widely circulated

of our papers,

a declaration

that he was

in no way connected

with Mr. Boas.

, , , , , 

Mr. Boas had

in Copenhagen attached himself

to a particular clique consisting

of a few young men;

he had heard them full

of lively spirits,

talking during the day,

of the Danish poets

and their writings;

he had

then gone home,

written down

what he had heard

and afterwards published it

in his work.

This was,

to use the mildest term,


That my Improvisatore

and Only a Fiddler did not please him,

is a matter

of taste,



that I must submit myself.


when he,

before the whole

of Germany,

where probably people

will presume


what he has written is true,

if he declare it

to be,

as is the case,

the universal judgment

against me

in my native land;

when he,

I say,

declared me

before the whole

of Germany,

to be the most haughty

of men,

he inflicts upon me a deeper wound

than he perhaps imagined.

He conveyed the voice

of a party,

formerly hostile

to me,

into foreign countries.

Nor is he true even



which he represents;

he gives circumstances

as facts,

which never took place.

, , , , , 

In Denmark

what he has written

could not injure me,

and many have declared themselves afraid

of coming

into contact

with any one,

who printed everything

which he heard.

His book was read

in Germany,

the public


which is now also mine;

and I believe,


that I may here say

how faulty is his view

of Danish literature

and Danish poets;


what manner his book was received

in my native land


that people

there know


what way it was put together.

But after I have expressed myself thus

on this subject I

will gladly offer Mr. Boas my hand;

and if,

in his next visit

to Denmark,

no other poet

will receive him,


will do my utmost

for him;

I know

that he

will not be able

to judge me more severely

when we know each other,


when we knew each other not.

His judgment

would also have been quite

of another character had he come

to Denmark

but one year later;

things changed very much

in a year’s time.

Then the tide had turned

in my favor;


then had published my new children’s stories,


which from

that moment

to the present

there prevailed,

through the whole

of my native land,

but one unchanging honorable opinion.

When the edition

of my collection

of stories came out

at Christmas 1843,

the reaction began;


of my merits were made,

and favor shown me

in Denmark,

and from

that time I have no cause

for complaint.

I have obtained

and I obtain

in my own land


which I deserve,

nay perhaps,

much more.

, , , , , 


will now turn

to those little stories which

in Denmark have been placed

by every one,

without any hesitation,


than anything else I had hitherto written.

, , , , , 

In the year 1835,

some months after I published the Improvisatore,

I brought out my first volume

of Stories

for Children,


I find it very difficult

to give a correct translation

of the original word.

The Danish is Eventyr,


to the German Abentheur,

or adventure;

but adventures give

in English a very different idea

to this class

of stories.

The German word M rchen,

gives the meaning completely,

and this we may English

by fairy tale

or legend,


then neither

of these words are fully correct

with regard

to Andersen’s stories.

In my translation

of his “Eventyr fortalte

for Born,”

I gave

as an equivalent title,

“Wonderful Stories

for Children,”

and perhaps this near

as I

could come.





that time was not so very much thought of.

One monthly critical journal

even complained

that a young author

who had just published a work

like the Improvisatore,

should immediately come out

with anything so childish

as the tales.

I reaped a harvest

of blame,


where people ought

to have acknowledged the advantage

of my mind producing something

in a new direction.


of my friends,

whose judgment was

of value

to me,

counselled me entirely

to abstain

from writing tales,

as these were a something


which I had no talent.

Others were

of opinion

that I had better,


of all,

study the French fairy tale.


would willingly have discontinued writing them,

but they forced themselves

from me.

, , , , , 

In the volume

which I first published,

I had,

like Mus us,


in my own manner,

related old stories,

which I had heard

as a child.

The volume concluded

with one

which was original,


which seemed

to have given the greatest pleasure,

although it bore a tolerably near affinity

to a story

of Hoffman’s.

In my increasing disposition

for children’s stories,

I therefore followed my own impulse,

and invented them mostly myself.

In the following year a new volume came out,

and soon after

that a third,


which the longest story,

The Little Mermaid,

was my own invention.

This story,

in an especial manner,

created an interest

which was only increased

by the following volumes.


of these came out every Christmas,


before long no Christmas tree

could exist without my stones.

, , , , , 


of our first comic actors made the attempt

of relating my little stories

from the stage;

it was a complete change

from the declamatory poetry

which had been heard

to satiety.

The Constant Tin Soldier,


the Swineherd,

and the Top

and Ball,

were told

from the Royal stage,


from those

of private theatres,

and were well received.

In order

that the reader might be placed

in the proper point

of view,

with regard

to the manner


which I told the stories,

I had called my first volume Stories told

for Children.

I had written my narrative down upon paper,


in the language,


with the expressions


which I had myself related them,

by word

of mouth,

to the little ones,

and I had arrived

at the conviction

that people

of different ages were equally amused

with them.

The children made themselves merry

for the most part


what might be called the actors,

older people,

on the contrary,

were interested

in the deeper meaning.

The stories furnished reading

for children

and grown people,


that assuredly is a difficult task

for those


will write children’s stories.

They met

with open doors

and open hearts

in Denmark;

everybody read them.

I now removed the words “told

for children,”

from my title,

and published three volumes

of “New Stories,”



which were

of my own invention,


which were received

in my own country

with the greatest favor.


could not wish it greater;

I felt a real anxiety

in consequence,

a fear

of not being able

to justify afterwards such an honorable award

of praise.

, , , , , 

A refreshing sunshine streamed

into my heart;

I felt courage

and joy,

and was filled,

with a living desire

of still more

and more developing my powers

in this direction,

--of studying more thoroughly this class

of writing,


of observing still more attentively the rich wells

of nature out


which I must create it.

If attention be paid

to the order


which my stories are written,

it certainly

will be seen


there is

in them a gradual progression,

a clearer working out

of the idea,

a greater discretion

in the use

of agency,


if I may so speak,

a more healthy tone

and a more natural freshness may be perceived.

, , , , , 

At this period

of my life,

I made an acquaintance

which was

of great moral

and intellectual importance

to me.

I have already spoken

of several persons

and public characters

who have had influence

on me

as the poet;

but none

of these have had more,


in a nobler sense

of the word,

than the lady

to whom I here turn myself;


through whom I,

at the same time,

was enabled

to forget my own individual self,

to feel


which is holy

in art,


to become acquainted

with the command

which God has given

to genius.

, , , , , 

I now turn back

to the year 1840.

One day

in the hotel


which I lived

in Copenhagen,

I saw the name

of Jenny Lind

among those

of the strangers

from Sweden.

I was aware


that time

that she was the first singer

in Stockholm.

I had been

that same year,

in this neighbor country,

and had

there met

with honor

and kindness:

I thought,


that it

would not be unbecoming

in me

to pay a visit

to the young artist.

She was,

at this time,

entirely unknown out

of Sweden,


that I was convinced that,


in Copenhagen,

her name was known only

by few.

She received me very courteously,

but yet distantly,

almost coldly.

She was,

as she said,

on a journey

with her father

to South Sweden,

and was come over

to Copenhagen

for a few days

in order

that she might see this city.

We again parted distantly,

and I had the impression

of a very ordinary character

which soon passed away

from my mind.

, , , , , 

In the autumn

of 1843,

Jenny Lind came again

to Copenhagen.


of my friends,

our clever ballet-master,


who has married a Swedish lady,

a friend

of Jenny Lind,

informed me

of her arrival here

and told me

that she remembered me very kindly,


that now she had read my writings.

He entreated me

to go

with him

to her,


to employ all my persuasive art

to induce her

to take a few parts

at the Theatre Royal;

I should,

he said,


then quite enchanted


what I

should hear.

, , , , , 

I was not now received

as a stranger;

she cordially extended

to me her hand,

and spoke

of my writings and

of Miss Fredrika Bremer,

who also was her affectionate friend.

The conversation was soon turned

to her appearance

in Copenhagen,


of this Jenny Lind declared

that she stood

in fear.

, , , , , 

“I have never made my appearance,”

said she,


of Sweden;


in my native land is so affectionate

and kind

to me,


if I made my appearance

in Copenhagen


should be hissed!

--I dare not venture

on it!”

I said,

that I,

it was true,

could not pass judgment

on her singing,

because I had never heard it,

neither did I know

how she acted,

but nevertheless,

I was convinced

that such was the disposition

at this moment

in Copenhagen,

that only a moderate voice

and some knowledge

of acting

would be successful;

I believed

that she might safely venture.

, , , , , 

Bournonville’s persuasion obtained

for the Copenhageners the greatest enjoyment

which they ever had.

, , , , , 

Jenny Lind made her first appearance

among them

as Alice

in Robert le Diable

--it was

like a new revelation

in the realms

of art,

the youthfully fresh voice forced itself

into every heart;

here reigned truth

and nature;

everything was full

of meaning

and intelligence.

At one concert Jenny Lind sang her Swedish songs;

there was something so peculiar

in this,

so bewitching;

people thought nothing

about the concert room;

the popular melodies uttered

by a being so purely feminine,

and bearing the universal stamp

of genius,

exercised their omnipotent sway

--the whole

of Copenhagen was

in raptures.

Jenny Lind was the first singer

to whom the Danish students gave a serenade:

torches blazed

around the hospitable villa

where the serenade was given:

she expressed her thanks

by again singing some Swedish songs,

and I

then saw her hasten

into the darkest corner

and weep

for emotion.

, , , , , 



said she,


will exert myself;


will endeavor,


will be better qualified

than I am

when I again come

to Copenhagen.”

, , , , , 

On the stage,

she was the great artiste,

who rose

above all those

around her;

at home,

in her own chamber,

a sensitive young girl

with all the humility

and piety

of a child.

, , , , , 

Her appearance

in Copenhagen made an epoch

in the history

of our opera;

it showed me art

in its sanctity

--I had beheld one

of its vestals.

She journeyed back

to Stockholm,



there Fredrika Bremer wrote

to me:

--”With regard

to Jenny Lind

as a singer,

we are both

of us perfectly agreed;

she stands

as high

as any artist

of our time

can stand;


as yet you do not know her

in her full greatness.


to her

about her art,

and you

will wonder

at the expansion

of her mind,


will see her countenance beaming

with inspiration.

Converse then

with her

of God,


of the holiness

of religion,

and you

will see tears

in those innocent eyes;

she is great

as an artist,

but she is still greater

in her pure human existence!”

In the following year I was

in Berlin;

the conversation

with Meyerbeer turned upon Jenny Lind;

he had heard her sing the Swedish songs,

and was transported

by them.

, , , , , 


how does she act?”

asked he.

, , , , , 

I spoke

in raptures

of her acting,

and gave him

at the same time some idea

of her representation

of Alice.

He said

to me

that perhaps it might be possible

for him

to determine her

to come

to Berlin.

, , , , , 

It is sufficiently well known

that she made her appearance there,

threw every one

into astonishment

and delight,

and won

for herself

in Germany a European name.

Last autumn she came again

to Copenhagen,

and the enthusiasm was incredible;

the glory

of renown makes genius perceptible

to every one.

People bivouacked regularly

before the theatre,

to obtain a ticket.

Jenny Lind appeared still greater

than ever

in her art,

because they had an opportunity

of seeing her

in many

and such extremely different parts.

Her Norma is plastic;

every attitude might serve

as the most beautiful model

to a sculptor,

and yet people felt

that these were the inspiration

of the moment,

and had not been studied

before the glass;

Norma is no raving Italian;

she is the suffering,

sorrowing woman

--the woman possessed

of a heart

to sacrifice herself

for an unfortunate rival

--the woman

to whom,

in the violence

of the moment,

the thought may suggest itself

of murdering the children

of a faithless lover,


who is immediately disarmed

when she gazes

into the eyes

of the innocent ones.

, , , , , 


thou holy priestess,”

sings the chorus,

and Jenny Lind has comprehended

and shows

to us this holy priestess

in the aria,

Casta diva.

In Copenhagen she sang all her parts

in Swedish,

and the other singers sang theirs

in Danish,

and the two kindred languages mingled very beautifully together;

there was no jarring;


in the Daughter

of the Regiment


there is a deal

of dialogue,

the Swedish had something agreeable


what acting!


the word itself is a contradiction

--it was nature;


as true never

before appeared

on the stage.

She shows us perfectly the true child

of nature grown up

in the camp,

but an inborn nobility pervades every movement.

The Daughter

of the Regiment

and the Somnambule are certainly Jenny Land’s most unsurpassable parts;

no second

can take their places

in these beside her.

People laugh,

--they cry;

it does them

as much good

as going

to church;

they become better

for it.

People feel

that God is

in art;


where God stands

before us face

to face

there is a holy church.

, , , , , 


will not

in a whole century,”

said Mendelssohn,


to me

of Jenny Lind,

“be born another being so gifted

as she;”

and his words expressed my full conviction;

one feels

as she makes her appearance

on the stage,

that she is a pure vessel,


which a holy draught

will be presented

to us.

, , , , , 

There is not anything which

can lessen the impression

which Jenny Lind’s greatness

on the stage makes,

except her own personal character

at home.

An intelligent

and child-like disposition exercises here its astonishing power;

she is happy;


as it were,

no longer

to the world,

a peaceful,

quiet home,

is the object

of her thoughts

--and yet she loves art

with her whole soul,

and feels her vocation

in it.

A noble,

pious disposition

like hers cannot be spoiled

by homage.

On one occasion only did I hear her express her joy

in her talent

and her self-consciousness.

It was during her last residence

in Copenhagen.

Almost every evening she appeared either

in the opera


at concerts;

every hour was

in requisition.

She heard

of a society,

the object


which was,

to assist unfortunate children,


to take them out

of the hands

of their parents

by whom they were misused,

and compelled either

to beg

or steal,


to place them

in other

and better circumstances.

Benevolent people subscribed annually a small sum each

for their support,

nevertheless the means

for this excellent purpose were small.

, , , , , 

“But have I not still a disengaged evening?”

said she;

“let me give a night’s performance

for the benefit

of these poor children;

but we

will have double prices!”

Such a performance was given,

and returned large proceeds;

when she was informed

of this,



by this means,

a number

of poor children

would be benefited

for several years,

her countenance beamed,

and the tears filled her eyes.

, , , , , 

“It is however beautiful,”

said she,

“that I

can sing so!”

I value her

with the whole feeling

of a brother,

and I regard myself

as happy

that I know

and understand such a spirit.

God give

to her

that peace,

that quiet happiness

which she wishes

for herself!

Through Jenny Lind I first became sensible

of the holiness

there is

in art;

through her I learned

that one must forget oneself

in the service

of the Supreme.

No books,

no men have had a better

or a more ennobling influence

on me

as the poet,

than Jenny Lind,

and I therefore have spoken

of her so long

and so warmly here.

, , , , , 

I have made the happy discovery

by experience,

that inasmuch

as art

and life are more clearly understood

by me,

so much more sunshine

from without has streamed

into my soul.

What blessings have not compensated me

for the former dark days!


and certainty have forced themselves

into my heart.

Such repose

can easily unite itself

with the changing life

of travel;

I feel myself everywhere

at home,

attach myself easily

to people,

and they give me

in return confidence

and cordiality.

, , , , , 

In the summer

of 1844 I once more visited North Germany.

An intellectual

and amiable family

in Oldenburg had invited me

in the most friendly manner

to spend some time

at their house.

Count von Rantzau-Breitenburg repeated also

in his letters

how welcome I

should be

to him.

I set out

on the journey,

and this journey was,

if not one

of my longest,

still one

of my most interesting.

, , , , , 

I saw the rich marsh-land

in its summer luxuriance,

and made

with Rantzau several interesting little excursions.

Breitenburg lies

in the middle

of woods

on the river St÷r;

the steam-voyage

to Hamburg gives animation

to the little river;

the situation is picturesque,

and life

in the castle itself is comfortable

and pleasant.


could devote myself perfectly

to reading

and poetry,

because I was just

as free

as the bird

in the air,

and I was

as much cared for


if I had been a beloved relation

of the family.

Alas it was the last time

that I came hither;

Count Rantzau had,

even then,

a presentiment

of his approaching death.

One day we met

in the garden;

he seized my hand,

pressed it warmly,

expressed his pleasure

in my talents being acknowledged abroad,

and his friendship

for me,


in conclusion,


my dear young friend,

God only knows

but I have the firm belief

that this year is the last time

when we two shall meet here;

my days

will soon have run out their full course.”

He looked

at me

with so grave an expression,

that it touched my heart deeply,

but I knew not what

to say.

We were near

to the chapel;

he opened a little gate

between some thick hedges,

and we stood

in a little garden,


which was a turfed grave

and a seat beside it.

, , , , , 

“Here you

will find me,

when you come the next time

to Breitenburg,”

said he,

and his sorrowful words were true.

He died the following winter

in Wiesbaden.

I lost

in him a friend,

a protector,

a noble excellent heart.

, , , , , 

When I,

on the first occasion,


to Germany,

I visited the Hartz

and the Saxon Switzerland.

Goethe was still living.

It was my most heartfelt wish

to see him.

It was not far

from the Hartz

to Weimar,

but I had no letters

of introduction

to him,



that time,

not one line

of my writings was translated.

Many persons had described Goethe

to me

as a very proud man,

and the question arose whether indeed he

would receive me.

I doubted it,

and determined not

to go

to Weimar

until I

should have written some work


would convey my name

to Germany.

I succeeded

in this,

but alas,

Goethe was already dead.

, , , , , 

I had made the acquaintance

of his daughter-in-law Mrs. von Goethe,


at Pogwitsch,

at the house

of Mendelssohn Bartholdy,

in Leipsig,

on my return

from Constantinople;

this spirituelle lady received me

with much kindness.

She told me

that her son Walter had been my friend

for a long time;


as a boy he had made a whole play out

of my Improvisatore;

that this piece had been performed

in Goethe’s house;

and lastly,

that Walter,

had once wished

to go

to Copenhagen

to make my acquaintance.

I thus had now friends

in Weimar.

, , , , , 

An extraordinary desire impelled me

to see this city

where Goethe,



and Herder had lived,



which so much light had streamed forth

over the world.

I approached

that land

which had been rendered sacred

by Luther,

by the strife

of the Minnesingers

on the Wartburg,


by the memory

of many noble

and great events.

, , , , , 

On the 24th

of June,

the birthday

of the Grand Duke,

I arrived a stranger

in the friendly town.

Everything indicated the festivity

which was

then going forward,

and the young prince was received

with great rejoicing

in the theatre,

where a new opera was being given.

I did not think

how firmly,

the most glorious

and the best

of all those whom I here saw

around me,

would grow

into my heart;

how many

of my future friends sat

around me here

--how dear this city

would become

to me

--in Germany my second home.

I was invited

by Goethe’s worthy friend,

the excellent Chancellor Muller,

and I met

with the most cordial reception

from him.

By accident I here met

on my first call,

with the Kammerherr Beaulieu de Marconnay,

whom I had known

in Oldenburg;

he was now placed

in Weimar.

He invited me

to remove

to his house.

In the course

of a few minutes I was his stationary guest,

and I felt “it is good

to be here.”

, , , , , 

There are people whom it only requires a few days

to know and

to love;

I won

in Beaulieu,

in these few days,

a friend,

as I believe,

for my whole life.

He introduced me

into the family circle,

the amiable chancellor received me equally cordially;

and I

who had,

on my arrival,

fancied myself quite forlorn,

because Mrs. von Goethe

and her son Walter were

in Vienna,

was now known

in Weimar,

and well received

in all its circles.

, , , , , 

The reigning Grand Duke

and Duchess gave me so gracious

and kind a reception

as made a deep impression upon me.

After I had been presented,

I was invited

to dine,

and soon after received an invitation

to visit the hereditary Grand Duke

and his lady,

at the hunting seat

of Ettersburg,

which stands high,

and close

to an extensive forest.

The old fashioned furniture within the house,

and the distant views

from the park

into the Hartz mountains,

produced immediately a peculiar impression.

All the young peasants had assembled

at the castle

to celebrate the birthday

of their beloved young Duke;



which fluttered handkerchiefs

and ribbons,

were erected;

fiddles sounded,

and people danced merrily

under the branches

of the large

and flowering limetrees.

Sabbath splendor,


and happiness were diffused

over the whole.

, , , , , 

The young andebut new married princely pair seemed

to be united

by true heartfelt sentiment.

The heart must be able

to forget the star

on the breast under

which it beats,

if its possessor wish

to remain long free

and happy

in a court;

and such a heart,

certainly one

of the noblest

and best

which beats,

is possessed

by Karl Alexander

of Saxe-Weimar.

I had the happiness

of a sufficient length

of time

to establish this belief.

During this,

my first residence here,

I came several times

to the happy Ettersburg.

The young Duke showed me the garden

and the tree

on the trunk


which Goethe,


and Wieland had cut their names;


even Jupiter himself had wished

to add his

to theirs,

for his thunder-bolt had splintered it

in one

of the branches.

, , , , , 

The intellectual Mrs. von Gross

(Amalia Winter),

Chancellor von Muller,

who was able livingly

to unroll the times

of Goethe and

to explain his Faust,

and the soundly honest

and child-like minded Eckermann belonged

to the circle

at Ettersburg.

The evenings passed

like a spiritual dream;

alternately some one read aloud;

even I ventured,

for the first time

in a foreign language

to me,

to read one

of my own tales

--the Constant Tin Soldier.

, , , , , 

Chancellor von Muller accompanied me

to the princely burial-place,

where Karl August sleeps

with his glorious wife,


between Schiller

and Goethe,

as I believed

when I wrote

--”the prince has made

for himself a rainbow glory,

whilst he stands

between the sun

and the rushing waterfall.”

Close beside the princely pair,

who understood

and valued


which was great,

repose these their immortal friends.

Withered laurel garlands lay upon the simple brown coffins,


which the whole magnificence consists

in the immortal names

of Goethe

and Schiller.

In life the prince

and the poet walked side

by side,

in death they slumber

under the same vault.

Such a place

as this is never effaced

from the mind;

in such a spot those quiet prayers are offered,

which God alone hears.

, , , , , 

I remained

above eight days

in Weimar;

it seemed

to me


if I had formerly lived

in this city;


if it were a beloved home

which I must now leave.

As I drove out

of the city,

over the bridge

and past the mill,


for the last time looked back

to the city

and the castle,

a deep melancholy took hold

on my soul,

and it was

to me


if a beautiful portion

of my life here had its close;

I thought

that the journey,

after I had left Weimar,

could afford me no more pleasure.

How often since

that time has the carrier pigeon,

and still more frequently,

the mind,

flown over

to this place!

Sunshine has streamed forth

from Weimar upon my poet-life.

, , , , , 

From Weimar I went

to Leipzig

where a truly poetical evening awaited me

with Robert Schumann.

This great composer had a year

before surprised me

by the honor

of dedicating

to me the music

which he had composed

to four

of my songs;

the lady

of Dr. Frege whose singing,

so full

of soul,

has pleased

and enchanted so many thousands,

accompanied Clara Schumann,

and the composer

and the poet were alone the audience:

a little festive supper

and a mutual interchange

of ideas shortened the evening only too much.

I met

with the old,

cordial reception

at the house

of Mr. Brockhaus,

to which

from former visits I had

almost accustomed myself.

The circle

of my friends increased

in the German cities;

but the first heart is still that


which we most gladly turn again.

, , , , , 

I found

in Dresden old friends

with youthful feelings;

my gifted half-countryman Dahl,

the Norwegian,

who knows

how upon canvas

to make the waterfall rush foaming down,

and the birch-tree

to grow as

in the valleys

of Norway,

and Vogel von Vogelstein,

who did me the honor

of painting my portrait,

which was included

in the royal collection

of portraits.

The theatre intendant,

Herr von L ttichau,

provided me every evening

with a seat

in the manager’s box;

and one

of the noblest ladies,

in the first circles

of Dresden,

the worthy Baroness von Decken,

received me

as a mother

would receive her son.

In this character I was ever afterwards received

in her family and

in the amiable circle

of her friends.

, , , , , 

How bright

and beautiful is the world!

How good are human beings!


it is a pleasure

to live becomes ever more

and more clear

to me.

, , , , , 

 Beaulieu’s younger brother Edmund,

who is an officer

in the army,


one day

from Tharand,

where he had spent the summer months.


accompanied him

to various places,

spent some happy days

among the

pleasant scenery

of the hills,

and was received

at the same time into

various families.

, , , , , 

I visited

with the Baroness Decken,

for the first time,

the celebrated

and clever painter Retsch,

who has published the bold outlines

of Goethe,



He lives a sort

of Arcadian life

among lowly vineyards

on the way

to Meissen.

Every year he makes a present

to his wife,

on her birthday,

of a new drawing,

and always one

of his best;

the collection has grown

through a course

of years

to a valuable album,

which she,

if he die

before her,


to publish.

Among the many glorious ideas there,

one struck me

as peculiar;

the Flight

into Egypt.

It is night;

every one sleeps

in the picture,



the flowers

and the shrubs,


even the ass

which carries her


except the child Jesus,


with open round countenance,

watches over

and illumines all.

I related one

of my stories

to him,


for this I received a lovely drawing,

--a beautiful young girl hiding herself

behind the mask

of an old woman;


should the eternally youthful soul,

with its blooming loveliness,

peep forth


behind the old mask

of the fairy-tale.

Retsch’s pictures are rich

in thought,


of beauty,

and a genial spirit.

, , , , , 

I enjoyed the country-life

of Germany

with Major Serre

and his amiable wife

at their splendid residence

of Maren;

it is not possible

for any one

to exercise greater hospitality

than is done

by these two kind-hearted people.

A circle

of intelligent,

interesting individuals,

were here assembled;

I remained

among them

above eight days,


there became acquainted

with Kohl the traveller,

and the clever authoress,

the Countess Hahn-Hahn,

in whom I discerned a woman

by disposition

and individual character

in whom confidence may be placed.

Where one is well received

there one gladly lingers.

I found myself unspeakably happy

on this little journey

in Germany,

and became convinced

that I was

there no stranger.

It was heart

and truth

to nature

which people valued

in my writings;


however excellent

and praiseworthy the exterior beauty may be,

however imposing the maxims

of this world’s wisdom,

still it is heart

and nature

which have least changed

by time,


which everybody is best able

to understand.

, , , , , 

I returned home

by way

of Berlin,

where I had not been

for several years;

but the dearest

of my friends there


was dead.

, , , , , 

 The fair wild swan

which flew far o’er the earth,

and laid its head upon a wild-swan’s breast,

was now flown

to a more glorious hemisphere;

I saw his children,

who were now fatherless

and motherless.

From the young

who here surround me,

I discover

that I am grown older;

I feel it not

in myself.

Chamisso’s sons,

whom I saw the last time playing here

in the little garden

with bare necks,

came now

to meet me

with helmet

and sword:

they were officers

in the Prussian service.

I felt

in a moment

how the years had rolled on,

how everything was changed and

how one loses so many.

, , , , , 

 Yet is it not so hard

as people deem,

to see their soul’s beloved

from them riven;

 God has their dear ones,


in death they seem

to form a bridge

which leads them up

to heaven.

, , , , , 

I met

with the most cordial reception,

and have since

then always met

with the same,

in the house

of the Minister Savigny,

where I became acquainted

with the clever,

singularly gifted Bettina

and her lovely spiritual-minded daughter.

One hour’s conversation

with Bettina during

which she was the chief speaker,

was so rich

and full

of interest,

that I was

almost rendered dumb

by all this eloquence,

this firework

of wit.

The world knows her writings,

but another talent

which she is possessed of,

is less generally known,

namely her talent

for drawing.

Here again it is the ideas

which astonish us.

It was thus,

I observed,

she had treated

in a sketch an accident

which had occurred just before,

a young man being killed

by the fumes

of wine.

You saw him descending half-naked

into the cellar,


which lay the wine casks

like monsters:


and Bacchantes danced

towards him,

seized their victim

and destroyed him!

I know

that Thorwaldsen,

to whom she once showed all her drawings,


in the highest degree astonished

by the ideas they contained.

, , , , , 

It does the heart such good

when abroad

to find a house,


when immediately you enter,

eyes flash

like festal lamps,

a house

where you

can take peeps

into a quiet,

happy domestic life

--such a house is that

of Professor Weiss.


how many new acquaintance

which were found,

and old acquaintance

which were renewed,

ought I not

to mention!

I met Cornelius

from Rome,


from Munich,

my countryman I might

almost call him;


the Norwegian,

and once again Tieck,

whom I had not seen

since my first visit

to Germany.

He was very much altered,

yet his gentle,

wise eyes were the same,

the shake

of his hand was the same.

I felt

that he loved me

and wished me well.

I must visit him

in Potsdam,

where he lived

in ease

and comfort.

At dinner I became acquainted

with his brother the sculptor.

, , , , , 

From Tieck I learnt

how kindly the King

and Queen

of Prussia were disposed

towards me;

that they had read my romance

of Only a Fiddler,

and inquired

from Tieck

about me.

Meantime their Majesties were absent

from Berlin.

I had arrived the evening

before their departure,


that abominable attempt was made upon their lives.

, , , , , 

I returned

to Copenhagen

by Stettin

in stormy weather,


of the joy

of life,

and again saw my dear friends,


in a few days set off

to Count Moltke’s

in Funen,


to spend a few lovely summer days.

I here received a letter

from the Minister Count Rantzau-Breitenburg,

who was

with the King

and Queen

of Denmark

at the watering-place

of F÷hr.

He wrote,


that he had the pleasure

of announcing

to me the most gracious invitation

of their Majesties

to F÷hr.

This island,

as is well known,


in the North Sea,

not far

from the coast

of Sleswick,

in the neighborhood

of the interesting Halligs,

those little islands

which Biernatzky described so charmingly

in his novels.


in a manner wholly unexpected

by me,


should see scenery

of a very peculiar character even

in Denmark.

, , , , , 

The favor

of my king

and Queen made me happy,

and I rejoiced

to be once more

in close intimacy

with Rantzau.


it was

for the last time!

It was just now five

and twenty years

since I,

a poor lad,

travelled alone

and helpless

to Copenhagen.

Exactly the five

and twentieth anniversary

would be celebrated

by my being

with my king

and queen,

to whom I was faithfully attached,

and whom I


that very time learned

to love

with my whole soul.


that surrounded me,


and nature,

reflected themselves imperishably

in my soul.

I felt myself,

as it were,


to a point


which I

could look forth more distinctly

over the past five

and twenty years,

with all the good fortune

and happiness

which they had evolved

for me.

The reality frequently surpasses the most beautiful dream.

, , , , , 

I travelled

from Funen

to Flensborg,



in its great bay,

is picturesque

with woods

and hills,


then immediately opens out

into a solitary heath.

Over this I travelled

in the bright moonlight.

The journey

across the heath was tedious;

the clouds only passed rapidly.

We went

on monotonously

through the deep sand,

and monotonous was the wail

of a bird

among the shrubby heath.

Presently we reached moorlands.

Long-continued rain had changed meadows

and cornfields

into great lakes;

the embankments along

which we drove were

like morasses;

the horses sank deeply

into them.

In many places the light carriage was obliged

to be supported

by the peasants,

that it might not fall upon the cottages below the embankment.

Several hours were consumed

over each mile


At length the North Sea

with its islands lay

before me.

The whole coast was an embankment,


for miles

with woven straw,


which the waves broke.

I arrived

at high tide.

The wind was favorable,


in less

than an hour I reached F÷hr,


after my difficult journey,


to me

like a real fairy land.

, , , , , 

The largest city,



which are the baths,

is exactly built

like a Dutch town.

The houses are only one story high,

with sloping roofs

and gables turned

to the street.

The many strangers there,

and the presence

of the court,

gave a peculiar animation

to the principal street.

Well-known faces looked out


almost every house;

the Danish flag waved,

and music was heard.

I was soon established

in my quarters,

and every day,

until the departure

of their Majesties,

had I the honor

of an invitation

from them

to dinner,

as well as

to pass the evening

in their circle.

On several evenings I read aloud my little stories

(M rchen)

to the king

and queen,

and both

of them were gracious

and affectionate

towards me.

It is so good

when a noble human nature

will reveal itself

where otherwise only the king’s crown

and the purple mantle might be discovered.

Few people

can be more amiable

in private life

than their present Majesties

of Denmark.

May God bless them

and give them joy,


as they filled my breast

with happiness

and sunshine!

I sailed

in their train

to the largest

of the Halligs,

those grassy runes

in the ocean,

which bear testimony

to a sunken country.

The violence

of the sea has changed the mainland

into islands,

has riven these again,

and buried men

and villages.

Year after year are new portions rent away,


in half a century’s time,


will be nothing here

but sea.

The Halligs are now only low islets covered

with a dark turf,


which a few flocks graze.

When the sea rises these are driven

into the garrets

of the houses,

and the waves roll

over this little region,

which is miles distant

from the shore.


which we visited,

contains a little town.

The houses stand closely side

by side,

as if,

in their sore need they

would all huddle together.

They are all erected upon a platform,

and have little windows,


in the cabin

of a ship.


in the little room,


through half the year,

sit the wife

and her daughters spinning.



one always finds a little collection

of books.

I found books

in Danish,


and Frieslandish.

The people read

and work,

and the sea rises round the houses,

which lie

like a wreck

in the ocean.


in the night,

a ship,

having mistaken the lights,


on here

and is stranded.

, , , , , 

In the year 1825,

a tempestuous tide washed away men

and houses.

The people sat

for days

and nights half naked upon the roofs,

till these gave way;


from F÷hr nor the mainland

could help be sent

to them.

The church-yard is half washed away;


and corpses were frequently exposed

to view

by the breakers:

it is an appalling sight.

And yet the inhabitants

of the Halligs are attached

to their little home.

They cannot remain

on the mainland,

but are driven thence

by home sickness.

, , , , , 

We found only one man upon the island,

and he had only lately arisen

from a sick bed.

The others were out

on long voyages.

We were received

by girls

and women.

They had erected

before the church a triumphal arch

with flowers

which they had fetched

from F÷hr;

but it was so small

and low,

that one was obliged

to go round it;

nevertheless they showed

by it their good will.

The queen was deeply affected

by their having cut down their only shrub,

a rose bush,

to lay

over a marshy place

which she

would have

to cross.

The girls are pretty,

and are dressed

in a half Oriental fashion.

The people trace their descent

from Greeks.

They wear their faces half concealed,


beneath the strips

of linen

which lie upon the head is placed a Greek fez,


which the hair is wound

in plaits.

, , , , , 

On our return,

dinner was served

on board the royal steamer;

and afterwards,

as we sailed

in a glorious sunset

through this archipelago,

the deck

of the vessel was changed

to a dancing room.


and old danced;

servants flew hither

and thither

with refreshments;

sailors stood upon the paddle-boxes

and took the soundings,

and their deep-toned voices might be heard giving the depth

of the water.

The moon rose round

and large,

and the promontory

of Amrom assumed the appearance

of a snow-covered chain

of Alps.

, , , , , 

I visited afterwards these desolate sand hills:

the king went

to shoot rabbits there.

Many years ago a ship was wrecked here,

on board


which were two rabbits,


from this pair Amrom is now stored

with thousands

of their descendants.

At low tide the sea recedes wholly


between Amrom

and F÷hr,


then people drive across

from one island

to another;

but still the time must be well observed

and the passage accurately known,

or else,

when the tide comes,


who crosses

will be inevitably lost.

It requires only a few minutes,



where dry land was large ships may sail.

We saw a whole row

of wagons driving

from F÷hr

to Amrom.

Seen upon the white sand


against the blue horizon,

they seem

to be twice

as large

as they really were.


around were spread out,

like a net,

the sheets

of water,


if they held firmly the extent

of sand

which belonged

to the ocean



would be soon overflowed

by it.

This promontory brings

to one’s memory the mounds

of ashes

at Vesuvius;

for here one sinks

at every step,

the wiry moor-grass not being able

to bind together the loose sand.

The sun shone burningly hot

between the white sand hills:

it was

like a journey

through the deserts

of Africa.

, , , , , 

A peculiar kind

of rose,

and the heath were

in flower

in the valleys

between the hills;

in other places

there was no vegetation whatever;


but the wet sand


which the waves had left their impress;

the sea had inscribed

on its receding strange hieroglyphics.

I gazed

from one

of the highest points

over the North Sea;

it was ebb-tide;

the sea had retired

above a mile;

the vessels lay

like dead fishes upon the sand,

and awaiting the returning tide.

A few sailors had clambered down

and moved about

on the sandy ground

like black points.

Where the sea itself kept the white level sand

in movement,

a long bank elevated itself,


during the time

of high-water,

is concealed,

and upon

which occur many wrecks.

I saw the lofty wooden tower

which is here erected,



which a cask is always kept filled

with water,

and a basket supplied

with bread

and brandy,

that the unfortunate human beings,

who are here stranded,

may be able

in this place,

amid the swelling sea,

to preserve life

for a few days

until it is possible

to rescue them.

, , , , , 

To return

from such a scene

as this

to a royal table,

a charming court-concert,

and a little ball

in the bath-saloon,

as well as

to the promenade

by moonlight,


with guests,

a little Boulevard,

had something

in it

like a fairy tale,

--it was a singular contrast.

, , , , , 

As I sat

on the above-mentioned five-and-twentieth anniversary,

on the 5th

of September,

at the royal dinner-table,

the whole

of my former life passed

in review

before my mind.

I was obliged

to summon all my strength

to prevent myself bursting

into tears.

There are moments

of thankfulness

in which,

as it were,

we feel a desire

to press God

to our hearts.

How deeply I felt,

at this time,

my own nothingness;

how all,


had come

from him.

Rantzau knew

what an interesting day this was

to me.

After dinner the king

and the queen wished me happiness,


that so


is a poor word,

--so cordially,

so sympathizingly!

The king wished me happiness



which I had endured

and won.

He asked me

about my first entrance

into the world,

and I related

to him some characteristic traits.

, , , , , 

In the course

of conversation he inquired

if I had not some certain yearly income;

I named the sum

to him.

, , , , , 

“That is not much,”

said the king.

, , , , , 

“But I do not require much,”

replied I,

“and my writings procure me something.”

, , , , , 

The king,

in the kindest manner,

inquired farther

into my circumstances,

and closed

by saying,

“If I can,

in any way,

be serviceable

to your literary labors,

then come

to me.”

, , , , , 

In the evening,

during the concert,

the conversation was renewed,

and some

of those

who stood near me reproached me

for not having made use

of my opportunity.

, , , , , 

“The king,”

said they,

“put the very words

into your mouth.”

, , , , , 

But I

could not,


would not have done it.

“If the king,”

I said,


that I required something more,


could give it

to me

of his own will.”

, , , , , 

And I was not mistaken.

In the following year King Christian VIII.

increased my annual stipend,

so that

with this



which my writings bring in,


can live honorably

and free

from care.

My king gave it

to me out

of the pure good-will

of his own heart.

King Christian is enlightened,


with a mind enlarged

by science;

the gracious sympathy,


which he has felt

in my fate is

to me doubly cheering

and ennobling.

, , , , , 

The 5th

of September was

to me a festival-day;

even the German visitors

at the baths honored me

by drinking my health

in the pump-room.

, , , , , 

So many flattering circumstances,

some people argue,

may easily spoil a man,

and make him vain.



they do not spoil him,

they make him

on the contrary


they purify his mind,

and he must thereby feel an impulse,

a wish,

to deserve all

that he enjoys.

At my parting-audience

with the queen,

she gave me a valuable ring

as a remembrance

of our residence

at F÷hr;

and the king again expressed himself full

of kindness

and noble sympathy.

God bless

and preserve this exalted pair!

The Duchess

of Augustenburg was

at this time also

at F÷hr

with her two eldest daughters.

I had daily the happiness

of being

with them,

and received repeated invitations

to take Augustenburg

on my return.

For this purpose I went

from F÷hr

to Als,


of the most beautiful islands

in the Baltic.

That little region resembles a blooming garden;

luxuriant corn

and clover-fields are enclosed,

with hedges

of hazels

and wild roses;

the peasants’ houses are surrounded

by large apple-orchards,


of fruit.


and hill alternate.

Now we see the ocean,

and now the narrow Lesser Belt,

which resembles a river.

The Castle

of Augustenburg is magnificent,

with its garden full

of flowers,

extending down

to the very shores

of the serpentine bay.

I met

with the most cordial reception,

and found the most amiable family-life

in the ducal circle.

I spent fourteen days here,

and was present

at the birth-day festivities

of the duchess,

which lasted three days;

among these festivities was racing,

and the town

and the castle were filled

with people.

, , , , , 

Happy domestic life is

like a beautiful summer’s evening;

the heart is filled

with peace;

and everything

around derives a peculiar glory.

The full heart says “it is good

to be here;”

and this I felt

at Augustenburg.

, , , , , 


, , , , , 

In the spring

of 1844 I had finished a dramatic tale,

“The Flower

of Fortune.”

The idea

of this was,

that it is not the immortal name

of the artist,

nor the splendor

of a crown which

can make man happy;


that happiness is

to be found

where people,


with little,


and are loved again.

The scene was perfectly Danish,

an idyllian,

sunbright life,

in whose clear heaven two dark pictures are reflected as

in a dream;

the unfortunate Danish poet Ewald

and Prince Buris,

who is tragically sung of

in our heroic ballads.

I wished

to show,

in honor

of our times,

the middle ages

to have been dark

and miserable,

as they were,


which many poets only represent

to us

in a beautiful light.

, , , , , 

Professor Heiberg,

who was appointed censor,

declared himself

against the reception

of my piece.

During the last years I had met

with nothing

but hostility

from this party;

I regarded it

as personal ill-will,

and this was

to me still more painful

than the rejection

of the pieces.

It was painful

for me

to be placed

in a constrained position

with regard

to a poet whom I respected,


towards whom,


to my own conviction,

I had done everything

in order

to obtain a friendly relationship.

A further attempt,


must be made.

I wrote

to Heiberg,

expressed myself candidly,


as I thought,


and entreated him

to give me explicitly the reasons

for his rejection

of the piece


for his ill-will

towards me.

He immediately paid me a visit,

which I,

not being

at home

when he called,


on the following day,

and I was received

in the most friendly manner.

The visit

and the conversation belong certainly

to the extraordinary,

but they occasioned an explanation,

and I hope led

to a better understanding

for the future.

, , , , , 

He clearly set

before me his views

in the rejection

of my piece.


from his point

of sight they were unquestionably correct;

but they were not mine,

and thus we

could not agree.

He declared decidedly

that he cherished no spite

against me,


that he acknowledged my talent.

I mentioned his various attacks upon me,

for example,

in the Intelligence,


that he had denied

to me original invention:

I imagined,


that I had shown this

in my novels;


of these,”

said I,

“you have read none;


yourself have told me so.”

, , , , , 


that is the truth,”

replied he;

“I have not yet read them,

but I

will do so.”

, , , , , 

“Since then,”

continued I,

“you have turned me

and my Bazaar

to ridicule

in your poem called Denmark,

and spoken

about my fanaticism

for the beautiful Dardanelles;

and yet I have,



that book,

described the Dardanelles

as not beautiful;

it is the Bosphorus

which I thought beautiful;

you seem not

to be aware

of that;

perhaps you have not read The Bazaar either?”

, , , , , 

“Was it the Bosphorus?”

said he,

with his own peculiar smile;


I had quite forgotten that,


you see,

people do not remember it either;

the object

in this case was only

to give you a stab.”

, , , , , 

This confession sounded so natural,


like him,

that I was obliged

to smile.

I looked

into his clever eyes,


how many beautiful things he had written,

and I

could not be angry

with him.

The conversation became more lively,

more free,

and he said many kind things

to me;

for example,

he esteemed my stories very highly,

and entreated me frequently

to visit him.

I have become more

and more acquainted

with his poetical temperament,

and I fancy

that he too

will understand mine.

We are very dissimilar,

but we both strive after the same object.

Before we separated he conducted me

to his little observatory;

now his dearest world.

He seems now

to live

for poetry

and now

for philosophy,


which I fancy he is least

of all calculated

--for astronomy.



almost sigh

and sing,

 Thou wast erewhile the star


which them gazest now!

My dramatic story came

at length

on the stage,


in the course

of the season was performed seven times.

, , , , , 

As people grow older,

however much they may be tossed about

in the


some one place must be the true home;

even the bird

of passage

has one fixed spot


which it hastens;

mine was

and is the house

of my

friend Collin.


as a son,

almost grown up

with the children,

I have become a member

of the family;

a more heartfelt connection,

a better home have I never known:

a link broke

in this chain,



in the hour

of bereavement,

did I feel

how firmly I have been

engrafted here,


that I was regarded

as one

of the children.

, , , , , 

if I were

to give the picture

of the mistress

of a family

who wholly

loses her own individual I

in her husband

and children,

I must name

the wife

of Collin;

with the sympathy

of a mother,

she also followed me

in sorrow and

in gladness.

In the latter years

of her life she became

very deaf,


besides this she had the misfortune

of being nearly


An operation was performed

on her sight,

which succeeded so well,


in the course

of the winter she was able

to read a letter,


this was a cause

of grateful joy

to her.

She longed

in an extraordinary


for the first green

of spring,

and this she saw

in her little


, , , , , 

I parted

from her one Sunday evening

in health

and joy;

in the night I was awoke;

a servant brought me a letter.

Collin wrote,

“My wife is very ill;

the children are all assembled here!”

I understood it,

and hastened thither.

She slept quietly

and without pain;

it was the sleep

of the just;

it was death

which was approaching so kindly

and calmly.

On the third day she yet lay


that peaceful slumber:

then her countenance grew pale

--and she was dead!

 Thou didst

but close thine eyes

to gather in

 The large amount

of all thy spiritual bliss;

 We saw thy slumbers

like a little child’s.

, , , , , 

 O death!

thou art all brightness

and not shadow.

, , , , , 

Never had I imagined

that the departure

from this world

could be so painless,

so blessed.

A devotion arose

in my soul;

a conviction

of God

and eternity,

which this moment elevated

to an epoch

in my life.

It was the first death-bed


which I had been present

since my childhood.


and children’s children were assembled.

In such moments all is holy

around us.

Her soul was love;

she went

to love and

to God!

At the end

of July,

the monument

of King Frederick VI.


to be uncovered

at Skanderburg,

in the middle

of Jutland.

I had,

by solicitation,

written the cantata

for the festival,


which Hartmann had furnished the music,

and this was

to be sung

by Danish students.

I had been invited

to the festival,

which thus was

to form the object

of my summer excursion.

, , , , , 

Skanderburg lies

in one

of the most beautiful districts

of Denmark.

Agreeable hills rise covered

with vast beech-woods,

and a large inland lake

of a pleasing form extends

among them.

On the outside

of the city,


by the church,

which is built upon the ruins

of an old castle,

now stands the monument,

a work

of Thorwaldsen’s.

The most beautiful moment

to me

at this festival was

in the evening,

after the unveiling

of the monument;

torches were lighted

around it,

and threw their unsteady flame

over the lake;

within the woods blazed thousands

of lights,

and music

for the dance resounded

from the tents.


about upon the hills,

between the woods,

and high

above them,

bonfires were lighted

at one

and the same moment,

which burned

in the night

like red stars.

There was spread

over lake

and land a pure,

a summer fragrance

which is peculiar

to the north,

in its beautiful summer nights.

The shadows

of those

who passed

between the monument

and the church,

glided gigantically

along its red walls,


if they were spirits

who were taking part

in the festival.

, , , , , 

I returned home.

In this year my novel

of the Improvisatore was translated

into English,

by the well-known authoress,

Mary Howitt,

and was received

by her countrymen

with great applause.

O. T.

and the Fiddler soon followed,

and met with,

as it seemed,

the same reception.


that appeared a Dutch,

and lastly a Russian translation

of the Improvisatore.



should never have ventured

to have dreamed

of was accomplished;

my writings seem

to come forth

under a lucky star;

they fly

over all lands.

There is something elevating,


at the same time,

a something terrific

in seeing one’s thoughts spread so far,


among so many people;

it is indeed,

almost a fearful thing

to belong

to so many.

The noble

and the good

in us becomes a blessing;

but the bad,

one’s errors,

shoot forth also,

and involuntarily the thought forces itself

from us:


let me never write down a word


which I shall not be able

to give an account

to thee.

A peculiar feeling,

a mixture

of joy

and anxiety,

fills my heart every time my good genius conveys my fictions

to a foreign people.

, , , , , 

Travelling operates

like an invigorating bath

to the mind;

like a Medea-draft

which always makes young again.

I feel once more an impulse

for it


in order

to seek up material,

as a critic fancied

and said,

in speaking

of my Bazaar;

there exists a treasury

of material

in my own inner self,

and this life is too short

to mature this young existence;


there needs refreshment

of spirit

in order

to convey it vigorously

and maturely

to paper,

and travelling is

to me,

as I have said,

this invigorating bath,


which I return

as it were younger

and stronger.

, , , , , 

By prudent economy,

and the proceeds

of my writings,

I was

in a condition

to undertake several journeys during the last year.

That which

for me is the most sunbright,

is the one


which these pages were written.


perhaps over-estimation,

but especially kindness,

in short,


and pleasure have flowed

towards me

in abundant measure.

, , , , , 

I wished

to visit Italy

for the third time,


to spend a summer,

that I might become acquainted

with the south

in its warm season,

and probably return thence

by Spain

and France.

At the end

of October,


I left Copenhagen.

Formerly I had thought

when I set out

on a journey,


what wilt thou permit

to happen

to me

on this journey!

This time my thoughts were,



will happen

to my friends

at home during this long time!

And I felt a real anxiety.

In one year the hearse may drive up

to the door many times,

and whose name may shine upon the coffin!

The proverb says,

when one suddenly feels a cold shudder,

“now death passes

over my grave.”

The shudder is still colder

when the thoughts pass

over the graves

of our best friends.

, , , , , 

I spent a few days

at Count Moltke’s,

at Glorup;

strolling players were acting some

of my dramatic works

at one

of the nearest provincial towns.

I did not see them;

country life firmly withheld me.

There is something

in the late autumn poetically beautiful;

when the leaf is fallen

from the tree,

and the sun shines still upon the green grass,

and the bird twitters,

one may often fancy

that it is a spring-day;

thus certainly also has the old man moments

in his autumn


which his heart dreams

of spring.

, , , , , 

I passed only one day

in Odense

--I feel myself

there more

of a stranger than

in the great cities

of Germany.

As a child I was solitary,

and had therefore no youthful friend;


of the families whom I knew have died out;

a new generation passes

along the streets;

and the streets

even are altered.

The later buried have concealed the miserable graves

of my parents.

Everything is changed.

I took one

of my childhood’s rambles

to the Marian-heights

which had belonged

to the Iversen family;

but this family is dispersed;

unknown faces looked out

from the windows.

How many youthful thoughts have been here exchanged!


of the young girls who


that time sat quietly there

with beaming eyes

and listened

to my first poem,

when I came here

in the summer time

as a scholar

from Slagelse,

sits now far quieter

in noisy Copenhagen,

and has thence sent out her first writings

into the world.

Her German publisher thought

that some introductory words

from me might be useful

to them,

and I,

the stranger,

but the

almost too kindly received,

have introduced the works

of this clever girl

into Germany.

, , , , , 

It is Henriette Hanck

of whom I speak,

the authoress

of “Aunt Anna,”

and “An Author’s Daughter.”


Since these pages were written,

I have received

from home the news

of her death,

in July,


She was an affectionate daughter

to her parents,

and was,

besides this,


of a deeply poetical mind.

In her I have lost a true friend

from the years

of childhood,


who had felt an interest

and a sisterly regard

for me,


in my good

and my evil days.]

I visited her birth-place

when the first little circle paid me homage

and gave me joy.

But all was strange there,

I myself a stranger.

, , , , , 

The ducal family

of Augustenburg was now

at Castle Gravenstein;

they were informed

of my arrival,

and all the favor

and the kindness

which was shown

to me

on the former occasion

at Augustenburg,

was here renewed

in rich abundance.

I remained here fourteen days,

and it was


if these were an announcement

of all the happiness


should meet me

when I arrived

in Germany.

The country

around here is

of the most picturesque description;

vast woods,

cultivated uplands

in perpetual variety,

with the winding shore

of the bay

and the many quiet inland lakes.

Even the floating mists

of autumn lent

to the landscape a some

what picturesque,

something strange

to the islander.

Everything here is

on a larger scale than

on the island.

Beautiful was it without,

glorious was it within.

I wrote here a new little story.

The Girl

with the Brimstone-matches;

the only thing

which I wrote upon this journey.

Receiving the invitation

to come often

to Gravenstein

and Augustenburg,

I left,

with a grateful heart,

a place

where I had spent such beautiful

and such happy days.

, , , , , 


no longer the traveller goes

at a snail’s pace

through the deep sand

over the heath;

the railroad conveys him

in a few hours

to Altona

and Hamburg.

The circle

of my friends

there is increased within the last years.

The greater part

of my time I spent

with my oldest friends Count Hoik,

and the resident Minister Bille,


with Zeise,

the excellent translator

of my stories.

Otto Speckter,

who is full

of genius,

surprised me

by his bold,

glorious drawings

for my stories;

he had made a whole collection

of them,

six only


which were known

to me.

The same natural freshness

which shows itself

in every one

of his works,

and makes them all little works

of art,

exhibits itself

in his whole character.

He appears

to possess a patriarchal family,

an affectionate old father,

and gifted sisters,

who love him

with their whole souls.

I wished one evening

to go

to the theatre;

it was scarcely a quarter

of an hour

before the commencement

of the opera:

Speckter accompanied me,


on our way we came up

to an elegant house.

, , , , , 

“We must first go

in here,

dear friend,”

said he;

“a wealthy family lives here,


of mine,

and friends

of your stories;

the children

will be happy.”

, , , , , 

“But the opera,”

said I. “Only

for two minutes,”

returned he;

and drew me

into the house,

mentioned my name,

and the circle

of children collected

around me.

, , , , , 

“And now tell us a tale,”

said he;

“only one.”

, , , , , 

I told one,


then hastened away

to the theatre.

, , , , , 

“That was an extraordinary visit,”

said I. “An excellent one;

one entirely out

of the common way;

one entirely out

of the common way!”

said he exultingly;

“only think;

the children are full

of Andersen

and his stories;

he suddenly makes his appearance amongst them,

tells one

of them himself,


then is gone!


That is

of itself

like a fairy-tale

to the children,


will remain vividly

in their remembrance.”

, , , , , 

I myself was amused

by it.

, , , , , 

In Oldenburg my own little room,


and comfortable,

was awaiting me.

Hofrath von Eisendecker

and his well-informed lady,


among all my foreign friends I may consider

as my most sympathizing,

expected me.

I had promised

to remain

with them a fortnight,

but I stayed much longer.

A house

where the best

and the most intellectual people

of a city meet,

is an agreeable place

of residence,

and such a one had I here.

A deal

of social intercourse prevailed

in the little city,

and the theatre,


which certainly either opera

or ballet was given,

is one

of the most excellent

in Germany.

The ability

of Gall,

the director,

is sufficiently known,

and unquestionably the nominationof the poet Mosen has a great

and good influence.

I have

to thank him

for enabling me

to see one

of the classic pieces

of Germany,

“Nathan the Wise,”

the principal part


which was played

by Kaiser,

who is

as remarkable

for his deeply studied

and excellent tragic acting,


for his readings.

, , , , , 


who somewhat resembles Alexander Dumas,

with his half African countenance,

and brown sparkling eyes,

although he was suffering

in body,

was full

of life

and soul,

and we soon understood one another.

A trait

of his little son affected me.

He had listened

to me

with great devotion,

as I read one

of my stories;

and when

on the last day I was there,

I took leave,

the mother said

that he must give me his hand,


that probably a long time must pass

before he

would see me again,

the boy burst

into tears.

In the evening,

when Mosen came

into the theatre,

he said

to me,

“My little Erick has two tin soldiers;


of them he has given me

for you,

that you may take him

with you

on your journey.”

, , , , , 

The tin soldier has faithfully accompanied me;

he is a Turk:

probably some day he may relate his travels.

, , , , , 

Mosen wrote

in the dedication

of his “John

of Austria,”

the following lines

to me:


 Once a little bird flew over

from the north sea’s dreary strand;


flew unto me over,

 Singing M rchen

through the land.

, , , , , 


yet again bring hither

 Thy warm heart

and song together.

, , , , , 

Here I again met

with Mayer,

who has described Naples

and the Neapolitans so charmingly.

My little stories interested him so much

that he had written a little treaties

on them

for Germany,

Kapellmeister Pott,

and my countryman Jerndorff,


to my earlier friends.

I made every day new acquaintance,

because all houses were open

to me

through the family

with whom I was staying.

Even the Grand Duke was so generous as

to have me invited

to a concert

at the palace the day after my arrival,

and later I had the honor

of being asked

to dinner.

I received

in this foreign court,


many unlooked-for favors.

At the Eisendeckers and

at the house

of the parents

of my friend Beaulieu

--the Privy-Counsellor Beaulieu,

at Oldenburg,

I heard several times my little stones read

in German.

, , , , , 


can read Danish very well,

as it ought

to be read,

and I

can give

to it perfectly the expression

which ought

to be given

in reading;

there is

in the Danish language a power

which cannot be transfused

into a translation;

the Danish language is peculiarly excellent

for this species

of fiction.

The stories have a something strange

to me

in German;

it is difficult

for me

in reading it

to put my Danish soul

into it;

my pronunciation

of the German also is feeble,


with particular words I must,

as it were,

use an effort

to bring them out

--and yet people everywhere

in Germany have had great interest

in hearing me read them aloud.


can very well believe

that the foreign pronunciation

in the reading

of these tales may be easily permitted,

because this foreign manner approaches,

in this instance,

to the childlike;

it gives a natural coloring

to the reading.

I saw everywhere

that the most distinguished men

and women

of the most highly cultivated minds,


to me

with interest;

people entreated me

to read,

and I did so willingly.

I read

for the first time my stories

in a foreign tongue,


at a foreign court,

before the Grand Duke

of Oldenburg

and a little select circle.

, , , , , 

The winter soon came on;

the meadows

which lay

under water,


which formed large lakes

around the city,

were already covered

with thick ice;

the skaters flew

over it,

and I yet remained

in Oldenburg

among my hospitable friends.


and evenings slid rapidly away;

Christmas approached,

and this season I wished

to spend

in Berlin.


what are distances

in our days?

--the steam-carriage goes

from Hanover

to Berlin

in one day!

I must away

from the beloved ones,

from children

and old people,

who were near,

as it were,

to my heart.

, , , , , 

I was astonished

in the highest degree

on taking leave

of the Grand Duke,

to receive

from him,

as a mark

of his favor and

as a keepsake,

a valuable ring.

I shall always preserve it,

like every other remembrance

of this country,

where I have found


where I possess true friends.

, , , , , 

When I was

in Berlin

on the former occasion,

I was invited,

as the author

of the Improvisatore,

to the Italian Society,


which only those

who have visited Italy

can be admitted.

Here I saw Rauch

for the first time,


with his white hair

and his powerful,

manly figure,

is not unlike Thorwaldsen.

Nobody introduced me

to him,

and I did not venture

to present myself,

and therefore walked alone

about his studio,

like the other strangers.

Afterwards I became personally acquainted

with him

at the house

of the Prussian Ambassador,

in Copenhagen;

I now hastened

to him.

, , , , , 

He was

in the highest degree captivated

by my little stories,

pressed me

to his breast,

and expressed the highest praise,


which was honestly meant.

Such a momentary estimation

or over-estimation

from a man

of genius erases many a dark shadow

from the mind.

I received

from Rauch my first welcome

in Berlin:

he told me

what a large circle

of friends I had

in the capital

of Prussia.

I must acknowledge

that it was so.

They were

of the noblest

in mind

as well

as the first

in rank,

in art,


in science.

Alexander von Humboldt,

Prince Radziwil,


and many others never

to be forgotten.

, , , , , 

I had already,

on the former occasion,

visited the brothers Grimm,

but I had not


that time made much progress

with the acquaintance.

I had not brought any letters

of introduction

to them

with me,

because people had told me,

and I myself believed it,


if I were known

by any body

in Berlin,

it must be the brothers Grimm.

I therefore sought out their residence.

The servant-maid asked me

with which

of the brothers I wished

to speak.

, , , , , 

“With the one

who has written the most,”

said I,

because I did not know,


that time,


of them had most interested himself

in the M rchen.

, , , , , 

“Jacob is the most learned,”

said the maidservant.

, , , , , 



take me

to him.”

, , , , , 

I entered the room,

and Jacob Grimm,

with his knowing

and strongly-marked countenance,


before me.

, , , , , 

“I come

to you,”

said I,

“without letters

of introduction,

because I hope

that my name is not wholly unknown

to you.”

, , , , , 

“Who are you?”

asked he.

, , , , , 

I told him,

and Jacob Grimm said,

in a half-embarrassed voice,

“I do not remember

to have heard this name;

what have you written?”

, , , , , 

It was now my turn

to be embarrassed

in a high degree:

but I now mentioned my little stories.

, , , , , 

“I do not know them,”

said he;

“but mention

to me some other

of your writings,

because I certainly must have heard them spoken of.”

, , , , , 

I named the titles

of several;

but he shook his head.

I felt myself quite unlucky.

, , , , , 


what must you think

of me,”

said I,

“that I come

to you

as a total stranger,

and enumerate myself

what I have written:

you must know me!

There has been published

in Denmark a collection

of the M rchen

of all nations,

which is dedicated

to you,


in it

there is

at least one story

of mine.”

, , , , , 


said he good-humoredly,


as much embarrassed

as myself;

“I have not read

even that,

but it delights me

to make your acquaintance;

allow me

to conduct you

to my brother Wilhelm?”

, , , , , 


I thank you,”

said I,

only wishing now

to get away;

I had fared badly enough

with one brother.

I pressed his hand

and hurried

from the house.

, , , , , 

That same month Jacob Grimm went

to Copenhagen;


on his arrival,


while yet

in his travelling dress,

did the amiable kind man hasten up

to me.

He now knew me,

and he came

to me

with cordiality.

I was just

then standing

and packing my clothes

in a trunk

for a journey

to the country;

I had only a few minutes time:

by this means my reception

of him was just

as laconic

as had been his

of me

in Berlin.

, , , , , 



we met

in Berlin

as old acquaintance.

Jacob Grimm is one

of those characters whom one must love

and attach oneself to.

, , , , , 

One evening,

as I was reading one

of my little stories

at the Countess Bismark-Bohlen’s,

there was

in the little circle one person

in particular

who listened

with evident fellowship

of feeling,


who expressed himself

in a peculiar

and sensible manner

on the subject,

--this was Jacob’s brother,

Wilhelm Grimm.

, , , , , 


should have known you very well,

if you had come

to me,”

said he,

“the last time you were here.”

, , , , , 

I saw these two highly-gifted

and amiable brothers

almost daily;

the circles


which I was invited seemed also

to be theirs,

and it was my desire

and pleasure

that they

should listen

to my little stories,

that they

should participate

in them,

they whose names

will be always spoken

as long

as the German Volks M rchen are read.

, , , , , 

The fact

of my not being known

to Jacob Grimm

on my first visit

to Berlin,

had so disconcerted me,


when any one asked me whether I had been well received

in this city,

I shook my head doubtfully

and said,

“but Grimm did not know me.”

, , , , , 

I was told

that Tieck was ill

--could see no one;

I therefore only sent

in my card.

Some days afterwards I met

at a friend’s house,

where Rauch’s birth-day was being celebrated,


the sculptor,

who told me

that his brother had lately waited two hours

for me

at dinner.

I went

to him

and discovered

that he had sent me an invitation,



had been taken

to a wrong inn.

A fresh invitation was given,

and I passed some delightfully cheerful hours

with Raumer the historian,


with the widow

and daughter

of Steffens.

There is a music

in Tieck’s voice,

a spirituality

in his intelligent eyes,

which age cannot lessen,


on the contrary,

must increase.

The Elves,

perhaps the most beautiful story

which has been conceived

in our time,

would alone be sufficient,

had Tieck written nothing else,

to make his name immortal.

As the author

of M rchen,

I bow myself

before him,

the elder

and The master,


who was the first German poet,

who many years

before pressed me

to his breast,


if it were

to consecrate me,

to walk

in the same path

with himself.

, , , , , 

The old friends had all

to be visited;

but the number

of new ones grew

with each day.

One invitation followed another.

It required considerable physical power

to support so much good-will.

I remained

in Berlin

about three weeks,

and the time seemed

to pass more rapidly

with each succeeding day.

I was,

as it were,


by kindness.


at length,

had no other prospect

for repose than

to seat myself

in a railway-carriage,

and fly away out

of the country.

, , , , , 

And yet amid these social festivities,

with all the amiable zeal

and interest


then was felt

for me,

I had one disengaged evening;

one evening


which I suddenly felt solitude

in its most oppressive form;


that very evening

of all others


which I

would most willingly witness something festal,

willingly stand beside a Christmas-tree,

gladdening myself

with the joy

of children,

and seeing the parents joyfully become children again.

Every one

of the many families


which I

in truth felt

that I was received

as a relation,

had fancied,

as I afterwards discovered,

that I must be invited out;

but I sat quite alone

in my room

at the inn,

and thought

on home.

I seated myself

at the open window,

and gazed up

to the starry heavens,

which was the Christmas-tree

that was lighted

for me.

, , , , , 


in Heaven,”

I prayed,

as the children do,

“what dost thou give

to me!”

When the friends heard

of my solitary Christmas night,

there were

on the following evening many Christmas-trees lighted,


on the last evening

in the year,

there was planted

for me alone,

a little tree

with its lights,

and its beautiful presents


that was

by Jenny Lind.

The whole company consisted

of herself,

her attendant,

and me;

we three children

from the north were together

on Sylvester-eve,

and I was the child


which the Christmas-tree was lighted.

She rejoiced

with the feeling

of a sister

in my good fortune

in Berlin;

and I felt

almost pride

in the sympathy

of such a pure,


and womanly being.

Everywhere her praise resounded,

not merely

as a singer,

but also

as a woman;

the two combined awoke a real enthusiasm

for her.

, , , , , 

It does one good both

in mind

and heart

to see


which is glorious understood

and beloved.

In one little anecdote contributing

to her triumph I was myself made the confidant.

, , , , , 

One morning

as I looked out

of my window unter den Linden,

I saw a man

under one

of the trees,

half hidden,

and shabbily dressed,

who took a comb out

of his pocket,

smoothed his hair,

set his neckerchief straight,

and brushed his coat

with his hand;

I understood

that bashful poverty

which feels depressed

by its shabby dress.

A moment after this,

there was a knock

at my door,

and this same man entered.

It was W



the poet

of nature,

who is only a poor tailor,


who has a truly poetical mind.


and others

in Berlin have mentioned him

with honor;

there is something healthy

in his poems,


which several

of a sincerely religious character may be found.

He had read

that I was

in Berlin,

and wished now

to visit me.

We sat together

on the sofa

and conversed:

there was such an amiable contentedness,

such an unspoiled

and good tone

of mind

about him,

that I was sorry not

to be rich

in order

that I might do something

for him.

I was ashamed

of offering him the little

that I

could give;

in any case I wished

to put it


as agreeable a form

as I could.

I asked him whether I might invite him

to hear Jenny Lind.

, , , , , 

“I have already heard her,”

said he smiling;

“I had,

it is true,

no money

to buy a ticket;

but I went

to the leader

of the supernumeraries,

and asked whether I might not act

as a supernumerary

for one evening

in Norma:

I was accepted

and habited

as a Roman soldier,

with a long sword

by my side,

and thus got

to the theatre,

where I

could hear her better

than any body else,

for I stood close

to her.


how she sung,

how she played!


could not help crying;

but they were angry

at that:

the leader forbade


would not let me again make my appearance,

because no one must weep

on the stage.”

, , , , , 

With the exception

of the theatre,

I had very little time

to visit collections

of any kind

or institutions

of art.

The able

and amiable Olfers,


the Director

of the Museum,

enabled me

to pay a rapid

but extremely interesting visit


that institution.

Olfers himself was my conductor;

we delayed our steps only

for the most interesting objects,


there are here not a few

of these;

his remarks threw light upon my mind,

--for this therefore I am infinitely obliged

to him.

, , , , , 

I had the happiness

of visiting the Princess

of Prussia many times;

the wing

of the castle


which she resided was so comfortable,

and yet

like a fairy palace.

The blooming winter-garden,

where the fountain splashed

among the moss

at the foot

of the statue,

was close beside the room


which the kind-hearted children smiled

with their soft blue eyes.

On taking leave she honored me

with a richly bound album,

in which,

beneath the picture

of the palace,

she wrote her name.

I shall guard this volume

as a treasure

of the soul;

it is not the gift

which has a value only,

but also the manner


which it is given.

One forenoon I read

to her several

of my little stories,

and her noble husband listened kindly:

Prince P ckler-Muskau also was present.

, , , , , 

A few days after my arrival

in Berlin,

I had the honor

to be invited

to the royal table.

As I was better acquainted

with Humboldt

than any one there,

and he it was

who had particularly interested himself

about me,

I took my place

at his side.

Not only

on account

of his high intellectual character,

and his amiable

and polite behavior,

but also

from his infinite kindness

towards me,

during the whole

of my residence

in Berlin,

is he become unchangeably dear

to me.

, , , , , 

The King received me most graciously,

and said

that during his stay

in Copenhagen he had inquired after me,

and had heard

that I was travelling.

He expressed a great interest

in my novel

of Only a Fiddler;

her Majesty the Queen also showed herself graciously

and kindly disposed

towards me.

I had afterwards the happiness

of being invited

to spend an evening

at the palace

at Potsdam;

an evening

which is full

of rich remembrance

and never

to be forgotten!

Besides the ladies

and gentlemen

in waiting,


and myself were only invited.

A seat was assigned

to me

at the table

of their Majesties,

exactly the place,

said the Queen,

where Oehlenschl ger had sat

and read his tragedy

of Dina.

I read four little stories,

the Fir-Tree,

the Ugly Duckling,

the Ball

and the Top,

and The Swineherd.

The King listened

with great interest,

and expressed himself most wittily

on the subject.

He said,

how beautiful he thought the natural scenery

of Denmark,


how excellently he had seen one

of Holberg’s comedies performed.

, , , , , 

It was so deliciously pleasant

in the royal apartment,

--gentle eyes were gazing

at me,

and I felt

that they all wished me well.


at night I was alone

in my chamber,

my thoughts were so occupied

with this evening,

and my mind

in such a state

of excitement,

that I

could not sleep.

Everything seemed

to me

like a fairy tale.

Through the whole night the chimes sounded

in the tower,

and the aerial music mingled itself

with my thoughts.

, , , , , 

I received still one more proof

of the favor

and kindness

of the King

of Prussia

towards me,

on the evening

before my departure

from the city.

The order

of the Red Eagle,

of the third class,

was conferred upon me.

Such a mark

of honor delights certainly every one

who receives it.

I confess candidly

that I felt myself honored

in a high degree.

I discerned

in it an evident token

of the kindness

of the noble,

enlightened King

towards me:

my heart is filled

with gratitude.

I received this mark

of honor exactly

on the birth-day

of my benefactor Collin,

the 6th

of January;

this day has now a twofold festal significance

for me.

May God fill

with gladness the mind

of the royal donor

who wished

to give me pleasure!

The last evening was spent

in a warm-hearted circle,

for the greater part,

of young people.

My health was drunk;

a poem,

Der M rchenk÷nig,


It was not

until late

in the night

that I reached home,

that I might set off early

in the morning

by railroad.

, , , , , 

I have here given

in part a proof

of the favor

and kindness

which was shown

to me

in Berlin:

I feel

like some one

who has received a considerable sum

for a certain object

from a large assembly,

and now

would give an account thereof.

I might still add many other names,

as well

from the learned world,

as Theodor,

M gge,


H ring,



from the social circle;

--the reckoning is too large.

God give me strength



which I now have

to perform,

after I have,

as an earnest

of good will,

received such a richly abundant sum.

, , , , , 

After a journey

of a day

and night I was once more

in Weimar,

with my noble Hereditary Grand Duke.

What a cordial reception!

A heart rich

in goodness,

and a mind full

of noble endeavors,


in this young prince.

I have no words

for the infinite favor,


during my residence here,

I received daily

from the family

of the Grand Duke,

but my whole heart is full

of devotion.

At the court festival,

as well as

in the familiar family circle,

I had many evidences

of the esteem


which I was held.

Beaulieu cared

for me

with the tenderness

of a brother.

It was

to me a month-long Sabbath festival.

Never shall I forget the quiet evenings spent

with him,

when friend spoke freely

to friend.

, , , , , 

My old friends were also unchanged;

the wise

and able Sch÷ll,

as well

as Schober,

joined them also.

Jenny Lind came

to Weimar;

I heard her

at the court concerts and

at the theatre;

I visited

with her the places

which are become sacred

through Goethe

and Schiller:

we stood together beside their coffins,

where Chancellor von Muller led us.

The Austrian poet,


who met us here

for the first time,


on this subject a sweet poem,


will serve me

as a visible remembrance

of this hour

and this place.

People lay lovely flowers

in their books,


as such,

I lay

in here this verse

of his:



29th January,


, , , , , 

 M rchen rose,

which has so often

 Charmed me

with thy fragrant breath;

where the prince,

the poets slumber,

 Thou hast wreathed the hall

of death.

, , , , , 


with thee beside each coffin,

in the death-hushed chamber pale,

 I beheld a grief-enchanted,

 Sweetly dreaming nightingale.

, , , , , 

 I rejoiced amid the stillness;


through my bosom past,

that the gloomy poets’ coffins

 Such a magic crowned

at last.

, , , , , 

and thy rose’s summer fragrance

 Floated round

that chamber pale,

with the gentle melancholy

of the grief-hushed nightingale.

, , , , , 

It was

in the evening circle

of the intellectual Froriep

that I met,

for the first time,

with Auerbach,


then chanced

to be staying

in Weimar.

His “Village Tales” interested me

in the highest degree;

I regard them

as the most poetical,

most healthy,

and joyous production

of the young German literature.

He himself made the same agreeable impression upon me;

there is something so frank

and straightforward,

and yet so sagacious,

in his whole appearance,

I might

almost say,

that he looks himself

like a village tale,


to the core,


and soul,

and his eyes beaming

with honesty.

We soon became friends

--and I hope forever.

, , , , , 

My stay

in Weimar was prolonged;

it became ever more difficult

to tear myself away.

The Grand Duke’s birth-day occurred

at this time,

and after attending all the festivities


which I was invited,

I departed.

I would

and must be

in Rome

at Easter.

Once more

in the early morning,

I saw the Hereditary Grand Duke,


with a heart full

of emotion,

bade him farewell.


in presence

of the world,

will I forget the high position

which his birth gives him,

but I may say,

as the very poorest subject may say

of a prince,

I love him

as one

who is dearest

to my heart.

God give him joy

and bless him

in his noble endeavors!

A generous heart beats

beneath the princely star.

, , , , , 

Beaulieu accompanied me

to Jena.

Here a hospitable home awaited me,

and filled

with beautiful memories

from the time

of Goethe,

the house

of the publisher Frommann.

It was his kind,

warm-hearted sister,

who had shown me such sympathy

in Berlin;

the brother was not here less kind.

, , , , , 

The Holstener Michelsen,

who has a professorship

at Jena,

assembled a number

of friends one evening,


in a graceful

and cordial toast

for me,

expressed his sense

of the importance

of Danish literature,

and the healthy

and natural spirit

which flourished

in it.

, , , , , 

In Michelsen’s house I also became acquainted

with Professor Hase,


one evening having heard some

of my little stories,

seemed filled

with great kindness

towards me.

What he wrote

in this moment

of interest

on an album leaf expresses this sentiment:


--not he

who now lives

in Berlin,

but he

who lives an immortal hero

in the world

of mind

--once said:

‘Nature is the visible spirit.’

This spirit,

this unseen nature,

last evening was again rendered visible

to me

through your little tales.


on the one hand you penetrate deeply

into the mysteries

of nature;


and understand the language

of birds,


what are the feelings

of a fir-tree

or a daisy,


that each seems

to be there

on its own account,

and we

and our children sympathize

with them

in their joys

and sorrows;


on the other hand,

all is

but the image

of mind;

and the human heart

in its infinity,


and throbs throughout.

May this fountain

in the poet’s heart,

which God has lent you,


for a time pour forth this refreshingly,

and may these stories

in the memories

of the Germanic nations,

become the legends

of the people!”

That object,

for which

as a writer

of poetical fictions,

I must strive after,

is contained

in these last lines.

, , , , , 

It is also

to Hase

and the gifted improvisatore,

Professor Wolff

of Jena,

to whom I am most indebted

for the appearance

of a uniform German edition

of my writings.

, , , , , 

This was all arranged

on my arrival

at Leipzig:

several hours

of business were added

to my traveller’s mode

of life.

The city

of bookselling presented me

with her bouquet,

a sum

of money;

but she presented me


even more.

I met again

with Brockhaus,

and passed happy hours

with Mendelssohn,

that glorious man

of genius.

I heard him play again

and again;

it seemed

to me

that his eyes,


of soul,


into the very depths

of my being.

Few men have more the stamp

of the inward fire

than he.

A gentle,

friendly wife,

and beautiful children,

make his rich,

well-appointed house,


and pleasant.

When he rallied me

about the Stork,

and its frequent appearance

in my writings,

there was something so childlike

and amiable revealed

in this great artist!

I also met again my excellent countryman Gade,

whose compositions have been so well received

in Germany.

I took him the text

for a new opera

which I had written,


which I hope

to see brought out

on the German stage.

Gade had written the music

to my drama

of Agnete

and the Merman,


which were very successful.


whom I again found here,

introduced me

to many agreeable circles.

I met

with the composer Kalliwoda,


with K hne,

whose charming little son immediately won my heart.

, , , , , 

On my arrival

at Dresden I instantly hastened

to my motherly friend,

the Baroness von Decken.

That was a joyous hearty welcome!

One equally cordial I met


from Dahl.

I saw once more my Roman friend,

the poet

with word

and color,


and met the kind-hearted Bendemann.

Professor Grahl painted me.

I missed,



among my olden friends,

the poet Brunnow.

With life

and cordiality he received me the last time

in his room,

where stood lovely flowers;

now these grew

over his grave.

It awakens a peculiar feeling,


for once

to meet

on the journey

of life,

to understand

and love each other,

and then

to part

--until the journey

for both is ended.

, , , , , 

I spent,

to me,

a highly interesting evening,

with the royal family,

who received me

with extraordinary favor.

Here also the most happy domestic life appeared

to reign

--a number

of amiable children,

all belonging

to Prince Johann,

were present.

The least

of the Princesses,

a little girl,

who knew

that I had written the history

of the Fir-tree,

began very confidentially with

--”Last Christmas we also had a Fir-tree,

and it stood here

in this room!”


when she was led out

before the other children,

and had bade her parents

and the King

and Queen good night,

she turned round

at the half-closed door,

and nodding

to me

in a friendly

and familiar manner,

said I was her Fairy-tale Prince.

, , , , , 

My story

of Holger Danske led the conversation

to the rich stores

of legends

which the north possesses.

I related several,

and explained the peculiar spirit

of the fine scenery

of Denmark.


in this royal palace did I feel the weight

of ceremony;


gentle eyes shone upon me.

My last morning

in Dresden was spent

with the Minister von K÷nneritz,

where I equally met

with the most friendly reception.

, , , , , 

The sun shone warm:

it was spring

who was celebrating her arrival,

as I rolled out

of the dear city.

Thought assembled

in one amount all the many

who had rendered my visits so rich

and happy:

it was spring

around me,

and spring

in my heart.

, , , , , 

In Prague I had only one acquaintance,

Professor Wiesenfeldt.

But a letter

from Dr. Carus

in Dresden opened

to me the hospitable house

of Count Thun.

The Archduke Stephan received me also

in the most gracious manner;

I found

in him a young man full

of intellect

and heart.

Besides it was a very interesting point

of time

when I left Prague.

The military,

who had been stationed

there a number

of years,

were hastening

to the railway,

to leave

for Poland,

where disturbances had broken out.

The whole city seemed

in movement

to take leave

of its military friends;

it was difficult

to get

through the streets

which led

to the railway.

Many thousand soldiers were

to be accommodated;

at length the train was set

in motion.


around the whole hill-side was covered

with people;

it looked

like the richest Turkey carpet woven

of men,


and children,

all pressed together,


to head,

and waving hats

and handkerchiefs.

Such a mass

of human beings I never saw before,


at least,


at one moment surveyed them:

such a spectacle

could not be painted.

, , , , , 

We travelled the whole night

through wide Bohemia:

at every town stood groups

of people;

it was

as though all the inhabitants had assembled themselves.

Their brown faces,

their ragged clothes,

the light

of their torches,


to me,

unintelligible language,


to the whole a stamp

of singularity.

We flew

through tunnel


over viaduct;

the windows rattled,

the signal whistle sounded,

the steam horses snorted

--I laid back my head

at last

in the carriage,

and fell asleep

under the protection

of the god Morpheus.

, , , , , 

At Olm tz,

where we had fresh carnages,

a voice spoke my name

--it was Walter Goethe!

We had travelled together the whole night without knowing it.

In Vienna we met often.

Noble powers,

true genius,


in Goethe’s grandsons,

in the composer

as well as

in the poet;

but it is


if the greatness

of their grandfather pressed upon them.

Liszt was

in Vienna,

and invited me

to his concert,


which otherwise it

would have been impossible

to find a place.

I again heard his improvising

of Robert!

I again heard him,

like a spirit

of the storm,


with the chords:

he is an enchanter

of sounds

who fills the imagination

with astonishment.

Ernst also was here;

when I visited him he seized the violin,

and this sang

in tears the secret

of a human heart.

, , , , , 

I saw the amiable Grillparzer again,

and was frequently

with the kindly Castelli,

who just

at this time had been made

by the King

of Denmark Knight

of the Danebrog Order.

He was full

of joy

at this,

and begged me

to tell my countrymen

that every Dane

should receive a hearty welcome

from him.

Some future summer he invited me

to visit his grand country seat.

There is something

in Castelli so open

and honorable,


with such good-natured humor,

that one must

like him:

he appears

to me the picture

of a thorough Viennese.

Under his portrait,

which he gave me,

he wrote the following little improvised verse

in the style so peculiarly his own:

 This portrait shall ever

with loving eyes greet thee,

from far shall recall the smile

of thy friend;

for thou,

dearest Dane,

‘tis a pleasure

to meet thee,

 Thou art one

to be loved

and esteemed

to the end.

, , , , , 

Castelli introduced me

to Seidl

and Bauernfeld.

At the Danisti ambassador’s,

Baron von L÷wenstern,

I met Zedlitz.


of the shining stars

of Austrian literature I saw glide past me,

as people

on a railway see church towers;


can still say you have seen them;

and still retaining the simile

of the stars,


can say,


in the Concordia Society I saw the entire galaxy.

Here was a host

of young growing intellects,

and here were men

of importance.

At the house

of Count Szechenye,

who hospitably invited me,

I saw his brother

from Pest,

whose noble activity

in Hungary is known.

This short meeting I account one

of the most interesting events

of my stay

in Vienna;

the man revealed himself

in all his individuality,

and his eye said

that you must feel confidence

in him.

, , , , , 

At my departure

from Dresden her Majesty the Queen

of Saxony had asked me whether I had introductions

to any one

at the Court

of Vienna,


when I told her

that I had not,

the Queen was so gracious as

to write a letter

to her sister,

the Archduchess Sophia

of Austria.

Her imperial Highness summoned me one evening,

and received me

in the most gracious manner.

The dowager Empress,

the widow

of the Emperor Francis I.,

was present,

and full

of kindness

and friendship

towards me;

also Prince Wasa,

and the hereditary Archduchess

of Hesse-Darmstadt.

The remembrance

of this evening

will always remain dear

and interesting

to me.

I read several

of my little stories aloud

--when I wrote them,

I thought least

of all

that I

should some day read them aloud

in the imperial palace.

, , , , , 

Before my departure I had still another visit

to make,

and this was

to the intellectual authoress,

Frau von Weissenthurn.

She had just left a bed

of sickness

and was still suffering,

but wished

to see me.

As though she were already standing

on the threshold

of the realm

of shades,

she pressed my hand

and said this was the last time we

should ever see each other.

With a soft motherly gaze she looked

at me,


at parting her penetrating eye followed me

to the door.

, , , , , 

With railway

and diligence my route now led

towards Triest.

With steam the long train

of carriages flies

along the narrow rocky way,

following all the windings

of the river.

One wonders that

with all these abrupt turnings one is not dashed

against the rock,

or flung down

into the roaring stream,

and is glad

when the journey is happily accomplished.


in the slow diligence one wishes its more rapid journey might recommence,

and praise the powers

of the age.

, , , , , 

At length Triest

and the Adriatic sea lay

before us;

the Italian language sounded

in our ears,

but yet

for me it was not Italy,

the land

of my desire.

Meanwhile I was only a stranger here

for a few hours;

our Danish consul,

as well

as the consuls

of Prussia

and Oldenburg,

to whom I was recommended,

received me

in the best possible manner.

Several interesting acquaintances were made,


with the Counts O’Donnell

and Waldstein,

the latter

for me

as a Dane having a peculiar interest,

as being the descendant


that unfortunate Confitz Ulfeld

and the daughter

of Christian IV.,


the noblest

of all Danish women.

Their portraits hung

in his room,

and Danish memorials


that period were shown me.

It was the first time I had ever seen Eleanore Ulfeld’s portrait,

and the melancholy smile

on her lips seemed

to say,



and free

from chains

which a hard age had cast upon him,

for whom

to live and

to suffer was my happiness!”

Before Oehlenschl ger wrote his Dina,

which treats

of an episode

in Ulfeld’s life,

I was

at work

on this subject,

and wished

to bring it

on the stage,

but it was

then feared this

would not be allowed,

and I gave it up


then I have only written four lines

on Ulfeld:


 Thy virtue was concealed,

not so thy failings,

 Thus did the world thy greatness never know,

 Yet still love’s glorious monument proclaims it,

that the best wife

from thee

would never go.

, , , , , 

On the Adriatic sea I,

in thought,

was carried back

to Ulfeld’s time

and the Danish islands.

This meeting

with Count Waldstein

and his ancestor’s portrait brought me back

to my poet’s world,

and I

almost forgot

that the following day I

could be

in the middle

of Italy.

In beautiful mild weather I went

with the steam-boat

to Ancona.

, , , , , 

It was a quiet starlight night,

too beautiful

to be spent

in sleep.

In the early morning the coast

of Italy lay

before us,

the beautiful blue mountains

with glittering snow.

The sun shone warmly,

the grass

and the trees were so splendidly green.

Last evening

in Trieste,


in Ancona,

in a city

of the papal states,

--that was almost

like enchantment!


in all its picturesque splendor lay once more

before me;

spring had ripened all the fruit trees so

that they had burst forth

into blossom;

every blade

of grass

in the field was filled

with sunshine,

the elm trees stood

like caryatides enwreathed

with vines,

which shot forth green leaves,


above the luxuriance

of foliage rose the wavelike blue mountains

with their snow covering.

In company

with Count Paar

from Vienna,

the most excellent travelling companion,

and a young nobleman

from Hungary,

I now travelled


with a vetturino

for five days:


and more picturesque

than habitable inns

among the Apennines were our night’s quarters.

At length the Campagna,

with its thought-awakening desolation,


before us.

, , , , , 

It was the 31st

of March,


when I again saw Rome,


for the third time

in my life

should reach this city

of the world.

I felt so happy,

so penetrated

with thankfulness

and joy;

how much more God had given me

than a thousand others



to many thousands!

And even

in this very feeling

there is a blessing

--where joy is very great,


in the deepest grief,

there is only God

on whom one

can lean!

The first impression was


can find no other word

for it


When day unrolled

for me my beloved Rome,

I felt

what I cannot express more briefly

or better

than I did

in a letter

to a friend:

“I am growing here

into the very ruins,

I live

with the petrified gods,

and the roses are always blooming,

and the church bells ringing

--and yet Rome is not the Rome it was thirteen years ago

when I first was here.

It is


if everything were modernized,

the ruins even,


and bushes are cleared away.

Everything is made so neat;

the very life

of the people seems

to have retired;

I no longer hear the tamborines

in the streets,

no longer see the young girls dancing their Saltarella,


in the Campagna intelligence has entered

by invisible railroads;

the peasant no longer believes

as he used

to do.

At the Easter festival I saw great numbers

of the people

from the Campagna standing

before St. Peters whilst the Pope distributed his blessing,


as though they had been Protestant strangers.

This was repulsive

to my feelings,

I felt an impulse

to kneel

before the invisible saint.

When I was here thirteen years ago,

all knelt;

now reason had conquered faith.

Ten years later,

when the railways

will have brought cities still nearer

to each other,


will be yet more changed.


in all

that happens,

everything is

for the best;

one always must love Rome;

it is

like a story book,

one is always discovering new wonders,

and one lives

in imagination

and reality.”

, , , , , 

The first time I travelled

to Italy I had no eyes

for sculpture;

in Paris the rich pictures drew me away

from the statues;

for the first time

when I came

to Florence

and stood

before the Venus de Medicis,

I felt

as Thorwaldsen expressed,

“the snow melted away

from my eyes;”

and a new world

of art rose

before me.

And now

at my third sojourn

in Rome,

after repeated wanderings

through the Vatican,

I prize the statues far higher

than the paintings.



what other places


at Rome,


to some degree

in Naples,

does this art step forth so grandly

into life!

One is carried away

by it,

one learns

to admire nature

in the work

of art,

the beauty

of form becomes spiritual.

, , , , , 

Among the many clever

and beautiful things

which I saw exhibited

in the studios

of the young artists,

two pieces

of sculpture were

what most deeply impressed themselves

on my memory;

and these were

in the studio

of my countryman Jerichau.

I saw his group

of Hercules

and Hebe,

which had been spoken


with such enthusiasm

in the Allgemeine Zeitung

and other German papers,

and which,

through its antique repose,

and its glorious beauty,

powerfully seized upon me.

My imagination was filled

by it,

and yet I must place Jerichau’s later group,

the Fighting Hunter,

still higher.

It is formed after the model,

as though it had sprung

from nature.

There lies

in it a truth,

a beauty,

and a grandeur

which I am convinced

will make his name resound

through many lands!

I have known him

from the time

when he was

almost a boy.

We were both

of us born

on the same island:

he is

from the little town

of Assens.

We met

in Copenhagen.

No one,


even he himself,


what lay within him;

and half

in jest,


in earnest,

he spoke

of the combat

with himself whether he

should go

to America

and become a savage,


to Rome

and become an artist


or sculptor;

that he did not yet know.

His pencil was meanwhile thrown away:

he modelled

in clay,

and my bust was the first

which he made.

He received no travelling stipendium

from the Academy.

As far

as I know,

it was a noble-minded woman,

an artist herself,


with means,


from the interest she felt

for the spark

of genius she observed

in him,

assisted him so far

that he reached Italy

by means

of a trading vessel.

In the beginning he worked

in Thorwaldsen’s atelier.

During a journey

of several years,

he has doubtless experienced the struggles

of genius

and the galling fetters

of want;

but now the star

of fortune shines upon him.

When I came

to Rome,

I found him physically suffering

and melancholy.

He was unable

to bear the warm summers

of Italy;

and many people said he

could not recover

unless he visited the north,

breathed the cooler air,

and took sea-baths.

His praises resounded

through the papers,

glorious works stood

in his atelier;

but man does not live

on heavenly bread alone.

There came one day a Russian Prince,

I believe,

and he gave a commission

for the Hunter.

Two other commissions followed

on the same day.

Jerichau came full

of rejoicing

and told this

to me.

A few days after he travelled

with his wife,

a highly gifted painter,

to Denmark,

from whence,

strengthened body

and soul,

he returned,

with the winter,

to Rome,

where the strokes

of his chisel

will resound so that,

I hope,

the world

will hear them.

My heart

will beat joyfully

with them!

I also met

in Rome,


another Danish sculptor,

until now only known

in Denmark,


there very highly thought of,

a scholar

of Thorwaldsen’s

and a favorite


that great master.

He honored me

by making my bust.

I also sat once more

with the kindly K chler,

and saw the forms fresh

as nature spread themselves

over the canvas.

, , , , , 

I sat once again

with the Roman people

in the amusing puppet theatre,

and heard the children’s merriment.

Among the German artists,

as well


among the Swedes

and my own countrymen,

I met

with a hearty reception.

My birth-day was joyfully celebrated.

Frau von Goethe,

who was

in Rome,


who chanced

to be living

in the very house

where I brought my Improvisatore

into the world,

and made him spend his first years

of childhood,

sent me

from thence a large,

true Roman bouquet,

a fragrant mosaic.

The Swedish painter,


proposed my health

to the company whom the Danes,


and Norwegians had invited me

to meet.

From my friends I received some pretty pictures

and friendly keepsakes.

, , , , , 

The Hanoverian minister,

K stner,

to whose friendship I am indebted

for many pleasant hours,

is an extremely agreeable man,


of no small talent

for poetry,


and painting.

At his house I really saw

for the first time flower-painting elevated

by a poetical idea.

In one

of his rooms he has introduced an arabesque

of flowers

which presents us

with the flora

of the whole year.

It commences

with the first spring flowers,

the crocus,

the snow drop,

and so on;

then come the summer flowers,

then the autumn,


at length the garland ends

with the red berries

and yellow-brown leaves

of December.

, , , , , 


in motion,

always striving

to employ every moment and

to see everything,

I felt myself

at last very much affected

by the unceasing sirocco.

The Roman air did not agree

with me,

and I hastened,


as soon

as I had seen the illumination

of the dome

and the girandola,

immediately after the Easter festival,

through Terracina

to Naples.

Count Paar travelled

with me.

We entered St. Lucia:

the sea lay

before us;

Vesuvius blazed.

Those were glorious evenings!

moonlight nights!

It was


if the heavens had elevated themselves above

and the stars were withdrawn.

What effect

of light!

In the north the moon scatters silver

over the water:

here it was gold.

The circulating lanterns

of the lighthouse now exhibited their dazzling light,

now were totally extinguished.

The torches

of the fishing-boats threw their obelisk-formed blaze

along the surface

of the water,

or else the boat concealed them

like a black shadow,


which the surface

of the water was illuminated.

One fancied one

could see

to the bottom,

where fishes

and plants were

in motion.

Along the street itself thousands

of lights were burning

in the shops

of the dealers

in fruit

and fish.

Now came a troop

of children

with lights,

and went

in procession

to the church

of St. Lucia.

Many fell down

with their lights;


above the whole stood,

like the hero

of this great drama

of light,


with his blood-red flame

and his illumined cloud

of smoke.

, , , , , 

I visited the islands

of Capri

and Ischia once more;


as the heat

of the sun

and the strong sirocco made a longer residence

in Naples oppressive

to me,

I went

to Sarrento,

Tasso’s city,

where the foliage

of the vine cast a shade,


where the air appears

to me lighter.

Here I wrote these pages.

In Rome,

by the bay

of Naples

and amid the Pyrenees,

I put

on paper the story

of my life.

, , , , , 

The well-known festival

of the Madonna dell’ Arco called me again

to Naples,

where I took up my quarters

at an hotel

in the middle

of the city,

near the Toledo Street,

and found an excellent host

and hostess.

I had already resided here,

but only

in the winter.

I had now

to see Naples

in its summer heat


with all its wild tumult,



what degree I had never imagined.

The sun shone down

with its burning heat

into the narrow streets,


at the balcony door.

It was necessary

to shut up every place:

not a breath

of air stirred.

Every little corner,

every spot

in the street


which a shadow fell was crowded

with working handicraftsmen,

who chattered loudly

and merrily;

the carriages rolled past;

the drivers screamed;

the tumult

of the people roared

like a sea

in the other streets;

the church bells sounded every minute;

my opposite neighbor,

God knows

who he was,

played the musical scale

from morning

till evening.

It was enough

to make one lose one’s senses!

The sirocco blew its boiling-hot breath

and I was perfectly overcome.

There was not another room

to be had

at St. Lucia,

and the sea-bathing seemed rather

to weaken than

to invigorate me.

I went therefore again

into the country;

but the sun burned there

with the same beams;

yet still the air

there was more elastic,


for all

that it was

to me

like the poisoned mantle

of Hercules,


as it were,

drew out

of me strength

and spirit.


who had fancied

that I must be precisely a child

of the sun,

so firmly did my heart always cling

to the south,

was forced

to acknowledge

that the snow

of the north was

in my body,

that the snow melted,


that I was more

and more miserable.

, , , , , 

Most strangers felt

as I myself did

in this,

as the Neapolitans themselves said,

unusually hot summer;

the greater number went away.

I also

would have done the same,

but I was obliged

to wait several days

for a letter

of credit;

it had arrived

at the right time,

but lay forgotten

in the hands

of my banker.


there was a deal

for me

to see

in Naples;

many houses were open

to me.

I tried whether the

will were not stronger

than the Neapolitan heat,

but I fell

into such a nervous state

in consequence,


till the time

of my departure I was obliged

to lie quietly

in my hot room,

where the night brought no coolness.

From the morning twilight

to midnight roared the noise

of bells,

the cry

of the people,

the trampling

of horses

on the stone pavement,

and the before-mentioned practiser

of the scale

--it was

like being

on the rack;

and this caused me

to give up my journey

to Spain,


as I was assured,

for my consolation,

that I

should find it just

as warm there

as here.

The physician said that,

at this season

of the year,


could not sustain the journey.

, , , , , 

I took a berth

in the steam-boat Castor

for Marseilles;

the vessel was full

to overflowing

with passengers;

the whole quarter-deck,

even the best place,

was occupied

by travelling carriages;

under one

of these I had my bed laid;

many people followed my example,

and the quarter-deck was soon covered

with mattresses

and carpets.

It blew strongly;

the wind increased,


in the second

and third night raged

to a perfect storm;

the ship rolled

from side

to side

like a cask

in the open sea;

the waves dashed

on the ship’s side

and lifted up their broad heads

above the bulwarks


if they

would look

in upon us.

It was


if the carriages under

which we lay

would crush us

to pieces,

or else

would be washed away

by the sea.

There was a lamentation,

but I lay quiet,

looked up

at the driving clouds,

and thought upon God

and my beloved.


at length we reached Genoa most

of the passengers went

on land:


should have been willing enough

to have followed their example,

that I might go

by Milan

to Switzerland,

but my letter

of credit was drawn upon Marseilles

and some Spanish sea-ports.

I was obliged

to go again

on board.

The sea was calm;

the air fresh;

it was the most glorious voyage

along the charming Sardinian coast.


of strength

and new life I arrived

at Marseilles,


as I here breathed more easily,

my longing

to see Spain was again renewed.

I had laid the plan

of seeing this country last,

as the bouquet

of my journey.

In the suffering state


which I had been I was obliged

to give it up,

but I was now better.

I regarded it therefore

as a pointing

of the finger

of heaven

that I

should be compelled

to go

to Marseilles,

and determined

to venture upon the journey.

The steam-vessel

to Barcelona had,

in the meantime,

just sailed,

and several days must pass

before another set out.

I determined therefore

to travel

by short days’ journeys

through the south

of France

across the Pyrenees.

, , , , , 

Before leaving Marseilles,

chance favored me

with a short meeting

with one

of my friends

from the North,

and this was Ole Bull!

He came

from America,

and was received

in France

with jubilees

and serenades,


which I was myself a witness.

At the table d’h te

in the H tel des Empereurs,

where we both lodged,

we flew

towards each other.

He told me

what I

should have expected least

of all,

that my works had also many friends

in America,

that people had inquired

from him

about me

with the greatest interest,


that the English translations

of my romances had been reprinted,

and spread

through the whole country

in cheap editions.

My name flown

over the great ocean!

I felt myself

at this thought quite insignificant,

but yet glad

and happy;


should I,

in preference

to so many thousand others,

receive such happiness?

, , , , , 

I had

and still have a feeling

as though I were a poor peasant lad

over whom a royal mantle is thrown.

Yet I was

and am made happy

by all this!

Is this vanity,

or does it show itself

in these expressions

of my joy?

, , , , , 

Ole Bull went

to Algiers,


towards the Pyrenees.

Through Provence,

which looked

to me quite Danish,

I reached Nismes,

where the grandeur

of the splendid Roman amphitheatre

at once carried me back

to Italy.

The memorials

of antiquity

in the south

of France I have never heard praised

as their greatness

and number deserve;

the so-called Maison Quar e is still standing

in all its splendor,

like the Theseus Temple

at Athens:

Rome has nothing so well preserved.

, , , , , 

In Nismes dwells the baker Reboul,

who writes the most charming poems:

whoever may not chance

to know him

from these is,


well acquainted

with him

through Lamartine’s Journey

to the East.

I found him

at the house,


into the bakehouse,

and addressed myself

to a man

in shirt sleeves

who was putting bread

into the oven;

it was Reboul himself!

A noble countenance

which expressed a manly character greeted me.

When I mentioned my name,

he was courteous enough

to say he was acquainted

with it

through the Revue de Paris,

and begged me

to visit him

in the afternoon,

when he

should be able

to entertain me better.

When I came again I found him

in a little room

which might be called

almost elegant,


with pictures,


and books,

not alone French literature,

but translations

of the Greek classics.

A picture

on the wall represented his most celebrated poem,

“The Dying Child,”

from Marmier’s Chansons du Nord.

He knew I had treated the same subject,

and I told him

that this was written

in my school days.


in the morning I had found him the industrious baker,

he now was the poet completely;

he spoke

with animation

of the literature

of his country,

and expressed a wish

to see the north,

the scenery

and intellectual life


which seemed

to interest him.

With great respect I took leave

of a man whom the Muses have not meanly endowed,


who yet has good sense enough,


of all the homage paid him,

to remain steadfast

to his honest business,

and prefer being the most remarkable baker

of Nismes

to losing himself

in Paris,

after a short triumph,

among hundreds

of other poets.

, , , , , 

By railway I now travelled

by way

of Montpelier

to Cette,


that rapidity

which a train possesses

in France;

you fly there

as though

for a wager

with the wild huntsman.

I involuntarily remembered that

at Basle,

at the corner

of a street

where formerly the celebrated Dance

of Death was painted,

there is written up

in large letters “Dance

of Death,”


on the opposite corner “Way

to the Railroad.”

This singular juxtaposition just

at the frontiers

of France,

gives play

to the fancy;

in this rushing flight it came

into my thoughts;

it seemed

as though the steam whistle gave the signal

to the dance.

On German railways one does not have such wild fancies.

, , , , , 

The islander loves the sea

as the mountaineer loves his mountains!

Every sea-port town,

however small it may be,


in my eyes a peculiar charm

from the sea.

Was it the sea,

in connexion perhaps

with the Danish tongue,

which sounded

in my ears

in two houses

in Cette,

that made this town so homelike

to me?

I know not,

but I felt more

in Denmark than

in the south

of France.

When far

from your country you enter a house

where all,

from the master

and mistress

to the servants,

speak your own language,

as was here the case,

these home tones have a real power

of enchantment:

like the mantle

of Faust,

in a moment they transport you,


and all,

into your own land.



there was no northern summer,

but the hot sun

of Naples;

it might

even have burnt Faust’s cap.

The sun’s rays destroyed all strength.

For many years

there had not been such a summer,

even here;


from the country round

about arrived accounts

of people

who had died

from the heat:

the very nights were hot.

I was told beforehand I

should be unable

to bear the journey

in Spain.

I felt this myself,


then Spain was

to be the bouquet

of my journey.

I already saw the Pyrenees;

the blue mountains enticed me

--and one morning early I found myself

on the steam-boat.

The sun rose higher;

it burnt above,

it burnt

from the expanse

of waters,


of jelly-like medusas filled the river;

it was

as though the sun’s rays had changed the whole sea

into a heaving world

of animal life;

I had never

before seen anything

like it.

In the Languedoc canal we had all

to get

into a large boat

which had been constructed more

for goods than

for passengers.

The deck was coveted

with boxes

and trunks,

and these again occupied

by people

who sought shade

under umbrellas.

It was impossible

to move;

no railing surrounded this pile

of boxes

and people,

which was drawn along

by three

or four horses attached

by long ropes.


in the cabins it was

as crowded;

people sat close

to each other,

like flies

in a cup

of sugar.

A lady

who had fainted

from the heat

and tobacco smoke,

was carried


and laid upon the only unoccupied spot

on the floor;

she was brought here

for air,

but here

there was none,


of the number

of fans

in motion;

there were no refreshments

to be had,


even a drink

of water,

except the warm,

yellow water

which the canal afforded.

Over the cabin windows hung booted legs,


at the same time

that they deprived the cabin

of light,


to give a substance

to the oppressive air.

Shut up

in this place one had also the torment

of being forced

to listen

to a man

who was always trying

to say something witty;

the stream

of words played

about his lips

as the canal water

about the boat.

I made myself a way

through boxes,


and umbrellas,

and stood

in a boiling hot air;

on either side the prospect was eternally the same,

green grass,

a green tree,


--green grass,

a green tree,



then again the same;

it was enough

to drive one insane.

, , , , , 

At the distance

of a half-hour’s journey

from Beziers we were put

on land;

I felt

almost ready

to faint,


there was no carriage here,

for the omnibus had not expected us so early;

the sun burnt infernally.

People say the south

of France is a portion

of Paradise;

under the present circumstances it seemed

to me a portion

of hell

with all its heat.

In Beziers the diligence was waiting,

but all the best places were already taken;

and I here

for the first,

and I hope

for the last time,


into the hinder part

of such a conveyance.

An ugly woman

in slippers,


with a head-dress a yard high,

which she hung up,

took her seat beside me;

and now came a singing sailor

who had certainly drunk too many healths;

then a couple

of dirty fellows,

whose first manoeuvre was

to pull off their boots

and coats

and sit upon them,


and dirty,

whilst the thick clouds

of dust whirled

into the vehicle,

and the sun burnt

and blinded me.

It was impossible

to endure this farther

than Narbonne;


and suffering,

I sought rest,


then came gensdarmes

and demanded my passport,


then just

as night began,

a fire must needs break out

in the neighboring village;

the fire alarm resounded,

the fire-engines rolled along,

it was just

as though all manner

of tormenting spirits were let loose.

From here

as far

as the Pyrenees

there followed repeated demands

for your passport,

so wearisome

that you know nothing

like it even

in Italy:

they gave you

as a reason,

the nearness

to the Spanish frontiers,

the number

of fugitives

from thence,

and several murders

which had taken place

in the neighborhood:

all conduced

to make the journey

in my

then state

of health a real torment.

, , , , , 

I reached Perpignan.

The sun had here also swept the streets

of people,

it was only

when night came

that they came forth,


then it was

like a roaring stream,

as though a real tumult were about

to destroy the town.

The human crowd moved

in waves

beneath my windows,

a loud shout resounded;

it pierced

through my sick frame.

What was that?

--what did it mean?

“Good evening,

Mr. Arago!”


from the strongest voices,

thousands repeated it,

and music sounded;

it was the celebrated Arago,

who was staying

in the room next

to mine:

the people gave him a serenade.

Now this was the third I had witnessed

on my journey.

Arago addressed them

from the balcony,

the shouts

of the people filled the streets.

There are few evenings

in my life

when I have felt so ill as

on this one,

the tumult went

through my nerves;

the beautiful singing

which followed

could not refresh me.


as I was,

I gave up every thought

of travelling

into Spain;

I felt it

would be impossible

for me.


if I

could only recover strength enough

to reach Switzerland!

I was filled

with horror

at the idea

of the journey back.

I was advised

to hasten

as quickly

as possible

to the Pyrenees,


there breathe the strengthening mountain air:

the baths

of Vernet were recommended

as cool

and excellent,

and I had a letter

of introduction

to the head

of the establishment there.

After an exhausting journey

of a night

and some hours

in the morning,

I have reached this place,

from whence I sent these last sheets.

The air is so cool,

so strengthening,


as I have not breathed

for months.

A few days here have entirely restored me,

my pen flies again

over the paper,

and my thoughts towards

that wonderful Spain.

I stand

like Moses

and see the land

before me,

yet may not tread upon it.


if God so wills it,

I will

at some future time

in the winter fly

from the north hither

into this rich beautiful land,


which the sun

with his sword

of flame now holds me back.

, , , , , 


as yet is not one

of the well-known bathing places,

although it possesses the peculiarity

of being visited all the year round.

The most celebrated visitor last winter was Ibrahim Pacha;

his name still lives

on the lips

of the hostess

and waiter

as the greatest glory

of the establishment;

his rooms were shown first

as a curiosity.

Among the anecdotes current

about him is the story

of his two French words,


and tr s bien,

which he pronounced

in a perfectly wrong manner.

, , , , , 

In every respect,


among baths is

as yet

in a state

of innocence;

it is only

in point

of great bills

that the Commandant has been able

to raise it

on a level

with the first

in Europe.


for the rest,

you live here

in a solitude,

and separated

from the world as

in no other bathing place:

for the amusement

of the guests nothing

in the least has been done;

this must be sought

in wanderings

on foot or

on donkey-back

among the mountains;

but here all is so peculiar

and full

of variety,

that the want

of artificial pleasures is the less felt.

It is here

as though the most opposite natural productions had been mingled together,


and southern,


and valley vegetation.

From one point you

will look

over vineyards,

and up

to a mountain

which appears a sample card

of corn fields

and green meadows,

where the hay stands

in cocks;

from another you

will only see the naked,

metallic rocks

with strange crags jutting forth

from them,


and narrow

as though they were broken statues

or pillars;

now you walk

under poplar trees,

through small meadows,

where the balm-mint grows,

as thoroughly Danish a production

as though it were cut out

of Zealand;

now you stand

under shelter

of the rock,

where cypresses

and figs spring forth

among vine leaves,

and see a piece

of Italy.

But the soul

of the whole,

the pulses

which beat audibly

in millions

through the mountain chain,

are the springs.

There is a life,

a babbling

in the ever-rushing waters!

It springs forth everywhere,


in the moss,


over the great stones.

There is a movement,

a life

which it is impossible

for words

to give;

you hear a constant rushing chorus

of a million strings;


and below you,

and all around,

you hear the babbling

of the river nymphs.

, , , , , 


on the cliff,

at the edge

of a steep precipice,

lie the remains

of a Moorish castle;

the clouds hang

where hung the balcony;

the path along

which the ass now goes,


through the hall.

From here you

can enjoy the view

over the whole valley,



and narrow,


like a river

of trees,

which winds

among the red scorched rocks;


in the middle

of this green valley rises terrace-like

on a hill,

the little town

of Vernet,

which only wants minarets

to look

like a Bulgarian town.

A miserable church

with two long holes

as windows,

and close

to it a ruined tower,

form the upper portion,

then come the dark brown roofs,

and the dirty grey houses

with opened shutters instead

of windows

--but picturesque it certainly is.

, , , , , 


if you enter the town itself

--where the apothecary’s shop is,

is also the bookseller’s

--poverty is the only impression.

Almost all the houses are built

of unhewn stones,

piled one upon another,

and two

or three gloomy holes form door

and windows through

which the swallows fly out

and in.

Wherever I entered,

I saw

through the worn floor

of the first story down

into a chaotic gloom beneath.

On the wall hangs generally a bit

of fat meat

with the hairy skin attached;

it was explained

to me

that this was used

to rub their shoes with.

The sleeping-room is painted

in the most glaring manner

with saints,



and crowns al fresco,


if done

when the art

of painting was

in its greatest state

of imperfection.

, , , , , 

The people are unusually ugly;

the very children are real gnomes;

the expression

of childhood does not soften the clumsy features.

But a few hours’ journey

on the other side

of the mountains,

on the Spanish side,

there blooms beauty,

there flash merry brown eyes.

The only poetical picture I retain

of Vernet was this.

In the market-place,

under a splendidly large tree,

a wandering pedlar had spread out all his wares,



and pictures,

--a whole bazaar,

but the earth was his table;

all the ugly children

of the town,

burnt through

by the sun,

stood assembled round these splendid things;

several old women looked out

from their open shops;

on horses

and asses the visitors

to the bath,


and gentlemen,

rode by

in long procession,

whilst two little children,

half hid

behind a heap

of planks;


at being cocks,

and shouted all the time,


Far more

of a town,


and well-appointed,

is the garrison town

of Villefranche,

with its castle

of the age

of Louis XIV.,

which lies a few hours’ journey

from this place.

The road

by Olette

to Spain passes

through it,


there is also some business;

many houses attract your eye

by their beautiful Moorish windows carved

in marble.

The church is built half

in the Moorish style,

the altars are such

as are seen

in Spanish churches,

and the Virgin stands there

with the Child,

all dressed

in gold

and silver.

I visited Villefranche one

of the first days

of my sojourn here;

all the visitors made the excursion

with me,


which end all the horses

and asses far

and near were brought together;

horses were put

into the Commandant’s venerable coach,

and it was occupied

by people within

and without,


as though it had been a French public vehicle.

A most amiable Holsteiner,

the best rider

of the company,

the well-known painter Dauzats,

a friend

of Alexander Dumas’s,

led the train.

The forts,

the barracks,

and the caves were seen;

the little town

of Cornelia also,

with its interesting church,

was not passed over.

Everywhere were found traces

of the power

and art

of the Moors;


in this neighborhood speaks more

of Spain

than France,

the very language wavers

between the two.

, , , , , 

And here

in this fresh mountain nature,

on the frontiers

of a land whose beauty

and defects I am not yet

to become acquainted with,


will close these pages,


will make

in my life a frontier

to coming years,

with their beauty

and defects.

Before I leave the Pyrenees these written pages

will fly

to Germany,

a great section

of my life;

I myself shall follow,

and a new

and unknown section

will begin.

--What may it unfold?

--I know not,

but thankfully,


I look forward.

My whole life,

the bright

as well

as the gloomy days,


to the best.

It is

like a voyage

to some known point,

--I stand

at the rudder,

I have chosen my path,

--but God rules the storm

and the sea.

He may direct it otherwise;

and then,


what may,


will be the best

for me.

This faith is firmly planted

in my breast,

and makes me happy.

, , , , , 

The story

of my life,


to the present hour,

lies unrolled

before me,

so rich

and beautiful

that I

could not have invented it.

I feel

that I am a child

of good fortune;

almost every one meets me full

of love

and candor,

and seldom has my confidence

in human nature been deceived.

From the prince

to the poorest peasant I have felt the noble human heart beat.

It is a joy

to live and

to believe

in God

and man.


and full

of confidence,


if I sat

among dear friends,

I have here related the story

of my life,

have spoken both

of my sorrows

and joys,

and have expressed my pleasure

at each mark

of applause

and recognition,

as I believe I might

even express it

before God himself.

But then,

whether this may be vanity?

I know not:

my heart was affected

and humble

at the same time,

my thought was gratitude

to God.

That I have related it is not alone

because such a biographical sketch

as this was desired

from me

for the collected edition

of my works,

but because,

as has been already said,

the history

of my life

will be the best commentary

to all my works.

, , , , , 

In a few days I shall say farewell

to the Pyrenees,

and return

through Switzerland

to dear,

kind Germany,

where so much joy has flowed

into my life,

where I possess so many sympathizing friends,

where my writings have been so kindly

and encouragingly received,


where also these sheets

will be gently criticized,

When the Christmas-tree is lighted,


as people say,

the white bees swarm,

--I shall be,

God willing,


in Denmark

with my dear ones,

my heart filled

with the flowers

of travel,

and strengthened both

in body

and mind:


will new works grow upon paper;

may God lay his blessing upon them!


will do so.

A star

of good fortune shines upon me;

there are thousands

who deserve it far more

than I;

I often myself cannot conceive

why I,

in preference

to numberless others,

should receive so much joy:

may it continue

to shine!


should it set,

perhaps whilst I conclude these lines,

still it has shone,

I have received my rich portion;

let it set!

From this also the best

will spring.

To God

and men my thanks,

my love!



of the East Pyrenees),



, , , , , 


, , , , ,